G7 says it’s ‘concerned’ by situation in East, South China seas
ISE-SHIMA, Japan—The leaders of the Group of Seven advanced democracies on Friday said they are worried over rising maritime tensions in Asia and called for disputes to be resolved without resort to force.
“We are concerned about the situation in the East and South China Seas, and emphasize the fundamental importance of peaceful management and settlement of disputes,” they said in a statement at the end of a two-day summit, though refrained from mentioning any individual countries by name.
Their declaration comes as tensions have risen over competing claims in the South China Sea, a strategic body of water that encompasses key global shipping lanes and which is claimed in nearly its entirety by China.
Beijing’s encompassing claims and ongoing militarization of islets and outcrops there has angered some of its Southeast Asian neighbors, including the Philippines and Vietnam.
China is also locked in a dispute with G7 host Japan over rocky outcroppings in the East China Sea, stoking broader concerns about the country’s growing regional might and threats to back up its claims with force, if necessary.
The G7, which groups the United States, Japan, Britain, France, Germany, Italy and Canada, also reiterated that settlement of disputes should be “peaceful” and “freedom of navigation and overflight” should be respected.
The leaders also said that claims should be made based on international law and countries should refrain from “unilateral actions which could increase tensions” while also avoiding “force or coercion in trying to drive their claims”.