Demilitarise South China Sea to avoid possible World War-III

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Top 40 intellectuals support China’s stand on South China Sea; Call on Government of Pakistan to raise its voice more vocally for China; Urge all nations to work for peace and stability; 101 Friends of China Assembly urges world to respect Chinese sovereignty

Zubair Qureshi

Islamabad—Top intellectuals of the country, former diplomats, civil servants, parliamentarians, strategists and senior members of the think tank, ‘101 Friends of China’ (101 FoC) on Monday while expressing serious concerns over the escalation of tension in the South China Sea and military buildup in recent weeks in the region have cautioned that an escalation can drift towards open confrontation leading to disastrous consequences for the region and the world.
In a resolution adopted during a meeting of the Islamabad-based senior members of Supreme Central Committee of the 101 Friends of China held under its Chairman Mr Zahid Malik, concerns were raised on the situation in South China Sea and a unanimous call was given to respect China’s territorial and maritime sovereignty.
The members of the think tank and participants of the meeting appreciated the fact that Mr Zahid Malik, who is undergoing cancer treatment in a Chinese hospital and was due to leave for Beijing later the same day, thought it appropriate to hold a forum meeting to discuss situation and get a resolution adopted by the members of 101 FoC endorsing the Chinese stand on its South Sea.
In his address, Mr Zahid Malik, Chairman of the 101 FoC and Editor-in-Chief of Pakistan Observer, briefly giving an overview of the situation said demilitarisation of the South China Sea was the only way to avoid possible World War III.
China is pursuing a policy of restraint and wants resolution of all disputes through peaceful dialogue and the other nations, parties should also adopt a similar approach, he said. The 101 FoC supports China’s stance on the South China Sea and calls upon the government to support its time-tested friend more vocally on this issue, Mr Malik said. Future of the world lies in peace and dialogue not in war and military escalation, he added.
While referring to the recent multi-billion-dollar investments initiated by the Chinese government in Pakistan — China Pak Economic Corridor, One Belt One Road — Mr Malik termed the Chinese investment in the country a game-changer, a harbinger of peace, prosperity and stability.
Not only 101 FoC fully supports these initiatives, Pakistan Observer too is at the back of these projects and will ensure that they are executed successfully for the benefit of the entire region, he said.
About the Friends of China initiatives, Mr Malik said a number of committees are to be established — Cultural Committee, Media Committee and Education Committee etc — for close interaction with China in the fields of culture, education and media.
Mr Malik on this occasion also presented a set of popular Chinese TV dramas to Mr Uxi Mufti, Chairman of the Cultural Committee of 101 FoC.
National Security Adviser Lt-Gen (R) Nasir Janjua who attended the meeting on the special invitation of the Chairman of the 101 FoC and as an observer, highly appreciated Mr Malik’s initiative of floating a resolution on the issue of military escalation in South China waters. China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), he said, provided Pakistan a great opportunity to become gateway for Central Asia and beyond. Because of this (CPEC), we see a greater fortune here as Pakistan is going to become a gateway for the Central Asia and ultimately to Russia through this mega project.
The security Advisor said, the $46 billion CPEC would help China and Pakistan to change the fortune of the people of both countries as well as the region as it was going to be a trade corridor. However, he said since China was heading towards becoming the leading economy of the world which was not acceptable to some dominating world economies. Both Pakistan and China are alive to these threats and are taking all necessary steps to thwart such challenges.
Deputy Chief of the Mission at the Chinese Embassy, Mr Zhao Lijian termed the 101 FoC initiative a well-timed move as the “so-called international tribunal is going to announce its verdict on South China Sea on Tuesday (today),” he said. This is indeed a great gesture of friendship by the 101 FoC and I am simply overwhelmed by Mr Malik and his team’s show of solidarity with China and the Chinese people, he said. “Mr Malik who has recently undergone 7th chemotherapy and is returning to Beijing for the 8th and 9th dose, regardless of his health and doctors’ advice is working for Pak-China friendship. He is simply a miracle,” he said.
About South China Sea dispute he said another country, brought the matter to the international tribunal with the clandestine support of a superpower. This is most unfortunate as we (China and the complainant country) are the members of the ASEAN and instead of raising the issue on regional forums it has been internationalised but “For all these years we have been negotiating within ASEAN and there is no point in taking the regional issues to the international forums,” he said. China has made it clear that it is not going to accept any verdict affecting its legitimate claim to its waters.
The prominent supporters of the resolution included Engr Dr Akram Sheikh, Ashfaq Ahmad Gondal, Br Dr Aziz Ahmed Khan, Dr Basharat Jazbi, Mrs Farrukh Khan, Dr Iqbal Qureshi, Ambassador Masood Khan, Ambassador Khalid Saleem, Maj-Gen (R) Masood Hasan, Riaz Khokhar, Syed Kamal Shah, Senator Razina Alam, Prof Qaisera Alvi, Dr Shoaib Suddle, Mr Salim Khan, Dr Ashfaq Hassan Khan and others.
The resolution was read out by senior member of the Forum, Maj-Gen (R) Muhammad Tahir and adopted by the Supreme Central Committee of the Friends of China endorsing China’s claim to its waters in South China Sea.

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