China supports international sea laws, US the opposite

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By Wang Yiwei Source: Global Times

A boat sails near the Ganquan Island of Xisha Yongle Islands in South China Sea. Photo: Xinhua

The International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS), an intergovernmental organization created by the mandate of the Third United Nations (UN) Conference on the Law of the Sea, is expected to hold an election in August or September.

China has nominated a candidate for the position of judge in the ITLOS. But the US is attempting to stop China by saying that China has flouted international sea laws in the South China Sea, according to a report by CNBC released on Monday.

With ties between China and the US further deteriorating, the US has repeatedly engaged in an all-out attack to suppress China. International organizations are one of the “battlefields.”

China has attached great importance to multilateral cooperation. It has been willing to contribute to the development of multilateral organizations. In recent years, China has played a much more active and positive role in multilateral institutions. The UN has 15 specialized agencies, four of which are led by Chinese nationals. They are the International Civil Aviation Organization, the International Telecommunication Union, the Food and Agricultural Organization, and the UN Industrial Development Organization.

Because of its prejudice against China, the US has a strong sense of crisis, and it believes China is expanding its influence in the UN. It is also worrying that specialized UN agencies will be dominated by China. When China nominated a Chinese national as the candidate for the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) earlier this year, the US also launched an extensive campaign against the Chinese candidate’s nomination. Peter Navarro, the anti-China trade advisor at the White House, said “the US believes that giving control of WIPO to a representative of China would be a terrible mistake.”

Although Washington is not permitted to vote in the tribunal election as it has not ratified the convention, Washington attempts to interfere with the election. It moves to stir up international public opinion to attack China. This is related to the recent mounting China-US confrontation, especially in terms of the South China Sea disputes. The US has recently continued to impair the stability and security of the region.

The negotiations of a code of conduct (COC) in the South China Sea between China and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) are approaching a conclusion. The COC will restrain the US’ meddling with the South China Sea disputes.

The South China Sea issue has been a significant anchor for the US to crack down on China. The US has been trying to make waves in this disputed region. But relations between China and ASEAN are getting closer. ASEAN became China’s biggest trading partner in the first half of 2020. This is what the US is reluctant to spot. Against this backdrop, the US is sowing discord between the two sides by taking advantage of any related affairs.

China has a wide range of distinguished diplomats. China pays great attention to international organizations, and hopes to speak on behalf of the developing countries. Therefore, the Chinese candidate nominated to be the judge of ITLOS must be capable of this position.

China is a maritime power and has proposed visions such as building a maritime community with a shared future and the 21st century Maritime Silk Road. China has made remarkable contributions to maintain international maritime order and security. China is supposed to play a more important role in ITLOS.

In recent years, the US has repeatedly interfered with or withdrawn from international organizations and broken international rules. For example, the US blocked the appointment of new judges of the WTO to protest how this international organization does its business.

These US moves have a very negative effect on the multilateral system and cooperation. It jeopardizes the reputation of these international institutions and weakens other countries’ confidence toward multilateralism and globalization.

The author is Jean Monnet Chair Professor and director of center for EU studies at Renmin university of China. [email protected]

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