Why is China hesitating to go to ICJ over South China Sea claims, asks Koh Tsu Koon


EIJING: Asean representatives have urged China to speed up negotiations on the Code of Conduct (COC) in the South China Sea to move another step forward and settle territorial disputes.

“From the perspective of Asean as small countries, we are concerned of the South China Sea disputes and geo-politics (in the region), on how it could affect us,” said Malaysia’s Wawasan Open University (WOU) Pro-Chancellor Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon.

He said if the disputes could not be solved through negotiations, it could be taken to the International Court of Justice (ICJ).

“If China is so confident about its historical and legal basis of the claims in the disputed water, why does it hesitate to go to the International Court of Justice?,” he asked.

Koh was speaking at a forum themed, ‘The Southeast Asian Conflicts and Security Cooperation’ here Sunday.

Yesterday, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said China was a large sea-faring nation one thousand years ago and hence, for sure, China was the first country to discover, use and administer the Spratly Islands, known as Nansha Islands in Chinese.

Koh said all Asean countries had accepted ICJ as a common platform to resolve problems.

Distinguished Fellow of Singapore Nanyang Technological University, Barry Desker pointed out that despite Singapore, Indonesia and Cambodia not being involved in the South China Sea dispute, the nations nevertheless, had the same view on that.


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