Timely warning by Friends of China

LEADING intellectuals and strategists, forming ‘101 Friends of China’ have called for demilitarization of South China Sea to avoid possible World War-III. After a meeting in Islamabad on Monday, they adopted a unanimous resolution supporting Chinese position on the issue and demanded of the Government of Pakistan to adopt a more pro-active policy on the dispute.
The warning comes in the backdrop of unending provocative moves by the United States leading to escalation of tension over the issue prompting Chinese President Xi Jinping to declare that his country would not waive its claims to the contested waters. China has established its credentials as peace-loving country and harbours no aggressive designs against any other state but the United States is exploiting the situation by raising the bogey of threat to global navigation as $5 trillion worth of trade passes through the area’s resource rich waters every year. The United States is indulging in highly provocative activities in the name of freedom of trade patrolling, making it a flashpoint with potentially serious global consequences. Beijing says its right to the area goes back to centuries when the Paracel and Spratly island chains were regarded as integral parts of the Chinese nation, and in 1947 it issued a map detailing its claims. Despite all this, China is still in favour of bilateral negotiations to sort out differences but the United States is encouraging other parties to the conflict to raise the ante. Under these circumstances, it is quite obvious that attempts are being made to provoke China and this could lead to catastrophic consequences as pointed out by the Pakistani think tank. We would urge all sides to the conflict to avoid escalating the conflict and instead sit on negotiating table to find a peaceful resolution of the simmering issue.

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