New Delhi [India], November 14 (ANI): External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Saturday referred to the South China Sea and expressed concern about "actions and incidents that erode trust" in the region. He noted that code of conduct negotiations should not be prejudicial to legitimate interests of third parties and should be fully consistent with the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).
The minister who represented India at the 15th East Asia Summit (EAS) noted the growing interest in the Indo-Pacific as an integrated and organic maritime space, with ASEAN at its centre. He appreciated the synergy between ASEAN outlook and India's Indo-Pacific Oceans Initiative.
The summit was chaired by the Prime Minister of Vietnam Nguyen Xuan Phuc in his capacity as ASEAN Chair. All the eighteen EAS countries participated in the virtual Summit.
Jaishankar underlined the need for greater international cooperation in the post-COVID world to tackle the challenges cutting across national boundaries such as terrorism, climate change and pandemics.
The leaders underlined the importance of cooperation in ensuring safe, effective and affordable access to COVID-19 vaccines.
They called for greater cooperation in keeping the global supply chains open for an expeditious and sustainable economic recovery.
Regional and international issues such as the South China Sea, the situation in Korean peninsula and Rakhine state were also discussed.
On COVID-19, Jaishankar briefed the EAS leaders about India's response to the pandemic and highlighted India's efforts to support the international community.
He reiterated Prime Minister Narendra Modi's commitment to helping make the COVID vaccine accessible and affordable to all nations.
Jaishankar said India was equally positive about the Indo-Pacific policies announced recently by other nations.
"EAM noted the growing interest in the Indo-Pacific as an integrated and organic maritime space, with ASEAN at its centre. He appreciated the synergy between the ASEAN Outlook and India's Indo-Pacific Oceans Initiative. India was equally positive about the Indo-Pacific policies announced recently by other nations. Harmonizing various perspectives would never be a challenge if there is a commitment to international cooperation," a MEA statement said.
"On South China Sea, EAM expressed concern about actions and incidents that erode trust in the region. He stated that the Code of Conduct negotiations should not be prejudicial to legitimate interests of third parties and should be fully consistent with UNCLOS," it addedIndo-Pacific region is largely viewed as an area comprising the Indian Ocean and the western and central Pacific Ocean, including the South China Sea.
China's territorial claims in the South China Sea and its efforts to advance into the Indian Ocean are seen to have challenged the established rules-based system.
The summit discussed ways to strengthen the EAS platform and to make it more responsive to emerging challenges on its 15th anniversary and adopted the Ha Noi Declaration.
The summit also adopted four other Leaders' Statements on marine sustainability, epidemics prevention and response, women, peace and security and steady growth of the regional economy. (ANI)