By Patricia Lourdes Viray
MANILA, Philippines — Contrary to their Southeast Asian counterparts, the leaders of the Group of Seven advanced economies reaffirmed their commitment to maintaining a rules-based order in the East and South China Seas.
The G7—composed of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States—urged all parties to pursue demilitarization of disputed features in the region.
"We reaffirm our commitment to maintaining a rules-based order in the maritime domain based on the principles of international law, including as reflected in the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), and to the peaceful settlement of maritime disputes through diplomatic and legal means, including arbitration," the G7 leaders said in a joint communique following their meeting in Taormina, Italy last Saturday.
The leaders were also strongly opposed to any unilateral actions that could increase tensions in the region.
This statement from the G7 leaders appears to be stronger than the Chairman's Statement of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations issued on April 29.
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