Russia being the largest nation of the world and spreading over two continents deems itselfto have held a very equitable friendship with all its diplomatic nations. Talking in context ofthe South China Sea Dispute, Russia acknowledges that the issue possess an evident threatto the global peace. On one hand this dispute can be recognised as a form of territorialexpansion from a superpower, China and on the other it can be addressed as a historicalmaritime standoff. The Russian foreign ministry has repeatedly stated that Russia does nottake any sides on sovereignty issues, supports a diplomatic solution, non-use of force,adherence to international law including the United Nations Convention on the Law of theSea (UNCLOS) and the 2002 Declaration on Conduct, and calls for an early conclusion ofnegotiations over a binding code of conduct.
Since Russia isn’t directly involved in the regional squabble, it has leveraged neutrality in thedispute. In its view, it is the claimant countries ; namely : China, Vietnam , Taiwan, Malaysiaand Brunei : who should be holding a lucid negotiation by addressing all the historical claims.This negotiation shall then be the binding code following which all the claimant nations cansustain peace in the region.Russia strongly condemns any foreign intervention in a regional dispute like this.
In thiscontext , the USA seems to have taken a great interest in the dispute. Especially whenChina defied the arbitration ruling in 2016, the USA urged all parties to consider the ruling’final and legally binding’. But the closest analogue to the Philippines case involving theUnited States arose in the 1980s when Nicaragua sued Washington for mining its harbors.Like China, the United States argued that the International Court of Justice did not have theauthority to hearNicaragua’s case. When the court rejected that claim, the United States notonly refusedto participate in subsequent proceedings, but also denied the Court’s jurisdiction on anyfuture case involving the United States, unless Washington explicitly made an exceptionand asked the Court to hear a case. It’s quite peculiar that US having themselves definedan international ruling for their own interest is outraged at China for doing the same.Although Russia has a neutral position among the claimant nations , a slight controversyseems to have arisen since the 2016 G20 Summit in Hangzhou where Mr.
President,Vladimir Putin stated support for China’s defiance of the arbitration ruling. Russia would liketo clarify this by stating that this was made in view of a similar UNCLOS-based suit thatcould be filed by Ukraine against Russia over the waters surrounding Crimea, and partly incontinuation of Russia’s non-participation in and non-adherence to an international tribunalon the Arctic Sunrise case brought in 2013. Unlike the USA Russian Federation believes inimpartial judgement. Another apparent matter of controversy is the joint drill done by Russiaand China in 2016 off the coast of Guangdong Province. Russia simply states that this drillisn’t first of its kind and the only motive behind this is to strength the military cooperationbetween Russia and it’s ever friendly nation China.Finally, Russia acknowledges that one of the great issues at stake in the South China Sea isfreedom of navigation and the interpretation of this principle.
While China does not havemeaningful blue water navy capabilities, Russia does, and is actually more inclined towardthe U.S. interpretation of what foreign military ships can and cannot do in other states’exclusive economic zones. After all, the 1982 UNCLOS was written by and for global navalpowers like Russia.Hereby, emphasising on the fact that Russia doesn’t take sides on sovereignty issues , theRussian Federation proposes that the ASEAN nations along with the Chinese governmentcan reach a collective consensus on the dispute by a lucid dialogue where the goodwill of allthe claimant nations is addressed equitably. Perhaps the resources of the exclusiveeconomic zones can be equally shared or a zonal division can be done. Also, Russiastrongly condemns any actions of third parties who aren’t directly concerned with thedispute.
Foreign interventions merely act as instigators in such cases which usually resort toviolent conflicts. Russian ambassador has once already addressed any external interferencein the dispute as a factor of complication. Russia re-affirms this statement and hopes forprosperity of the Asia Pacific as well and the nations of the region.