US for resolving South China Sea row through dialogue

April 17th, 2012 - 6:45 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, April 17 (IANS) Amid conflicting territorial claims over South China Sea and differences between India and China over exploration, the US Tuesday said the laws of the seas should apply and issues should be addressed through dialogue.

“We try not to get in to the business of bilateral interactions and disputes but instead have a principled policy about the parameters on which the dialogue and discussion should be based,” US Assistant Secretary for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Kurt Campbell said.

“All I would say is that the United States is very very careful about how we talk about and how we act in the South China sea,” he told reporters when asked about the dispute between India and China over exploration in South China Sea.

China has objected to India’s oil exploration deals with Vietnam in its territorial waters in South China Sea, which Beijing claims in full. India has defended the oil exploration deal, saying its cooperation with Vietnam was in accordance with international laws and has underlined the need for freedom of navigation in South China Sea. India’s assertion has been welcomed by Hanoi, which has been wary of Chinese attempts to dominate the region.

South China Sea also figured in talks in the fifth India-US dialogue on Asia Pacific region. The US delegation was led by Campbell and the Indian side was led by Gautam Bambawale, joint secretary in charge of East Asia in the external affairs ministry.

Campbell added that US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had laid out “very clear criteria about how we would like to see issues handled, that are legally based and issues associated with the law of the sea”.

He stressed that the policy was “that to maintain peace and stability is strategic interest of our country and others and need for peaceful dialogue would be critical for going forth”.

On Myanmar, Campbell said India’s advice has been very helpful to the US.

“Frankly, I must say we have received very good advice and counsel from India over the course of last couple of years. An encouragement about engagement, and we think that advice has been good advice in terms of how we should approach the opportunities that we are facing today,” he said.

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