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Ambassador-at-Large at the Singapore Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ong Keng Yong.
Ambassador-at-Large at the Singapore Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ong Keng Yong.

We have to find a way to negotiate with each other: Singapore envoy on diplomacy

ANI | Updated: Oct 04, 2022 15:23 IST


Singapore, October 7 (ANI): Ong Keng Yong, Ambassador-at-Large at Singapore Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that "negotiations and compromise is way forward" in diplomacy.

Speaking to ANI on Tuesday about the Singapore-ASEAN concerns on Chinese policies, the Singapore envoy said, "From our perspective and South Asia's, we have lived with China for centuries, we have to find a way to negotiate with each other, compromise if you like. I think that's a way forward. It's just a question of us -giving and taking."

The tension across the Taiwan strait has flared up after US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's visit to the self-governed island resulted in a spurt in military drills by China.

Pelosi became the highest-ranking US official to visit Taiwan in 25 years. China condemned Pelosi's trip, which it regarded as a gesture of support for separatism, and launched large-scale military exercises in the vicinity of the island.

Meanwhile, amid growing territorial disputes between China and other littoral states in the South China Sea (SCS), Singapore called on the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to use diplomacy and dialogues to settle the disputes.

Notably, the heightened tensions across the Taiwan Strait have affected the shipping industry and international companies dealing with business in this part of the world.

"There must be a conclusion, otherwise we cannot reassure our shipping community, international companies dealing with business in this part of the world. I think the important thing now is that both sides have to sit down and go through all the possible scenarios and options and then have a commonsensical conclusion. If they maintain their respective position, we cannot get any conclusion," said Ong.

Beijing considers Taiwan an unalienable part of its sovereign territory and opposes any official contact between the island and other countries.

Beijing has said that the 'One-China' principle is a political foundation of China-US ties and that violations of these obligations would jeopardise cooperation between the two countries.

As an immediate reaction to Nancy Pelosi's visit to Taiwan, China imposed sanctions on the United States House Speaker for her visit to Taiwan. It suspended eight key dialogue mechanisms with the US.

It also suspended bilateral talks on climate change, repatriation of illegal immigrants, legal assistance in criminal matters, transnational crimes, and counter-narcotics.

Further, in addition to the military measures, China has so far put in place modest economic curbs such as barring more than 100 Taiwanese exporters.

This also includes a suspension of fish, fruit and sand imports, which account for a small portion of two-way trade. 

Notably, China and ASEAN agreed on a Declaration of Conduct of Parties (DOC) in the South China Sea in 2002, but progress on a Code of Conduct (COC) has been slow going amid an increasing risk of conflict.

The COC would safeguard the rights and interests of all parties in the South China Sea.

China and ASEAN are currently working to speed up the conclusion of negotiations in the issuance of a legally binding Code of Conduct (COC) in the SCS.

In May 2022, the two parties resumed the physical textual negotiation of the Single Draft COC Negotiating Text during the 36th Joint Working Group on the Implementation of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (JWG-DOC) in Siem Reap, Cambodia.

China and five other parties including four ASEAN member states -Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines and Vietnam - hold competing claims in the South China Sea. Still, the Chinese claims are the most expansive and a 2016 international arbitration tribunal ruled that they had no legal basis. (ANI)

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