Resolve South China Sea issue through negotiations: Pakistan

Islamabad: Pakistan on Tuesday said disputes over the South China Sea should be peacefully resolved through consultations and negotiations by states directly concerned. A Foreign Ministry spokesman in a statement said the maritime disputes should be addressed in accordance with bilateral agreements and the declaration on the conduct of parties in the South China Sea, Xinhua news agency reported. Pakistan opposes any imposition of unilateral will on others, and respects China's statement of optional exception in light of Article 298 of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, the statement said. The spokesman made the remarks in response to a verdict against China by an arbitral tribunal in the South China Sea case initiated by the Philippines. China said it neither accepts nor recognises the verdict, dismissing it as "null and void". "Pakistan believes that maintenance of peace and security is the collective responsibility of all parties to the South China Sea." "Countries outside the region should fully respect efforts made by China and the Asean countries to safeguard peace and stability in the South China Sea, and play a constructive role to this end," it said.