Bahram Qassemi

Iran invites China, Philippines to self-restraint on sea dispute

TEHRAN (FNA)- The Iranian foreign ministry called on China and the Philippines to practice self-restraint in their dispute over the South China Sea.

“The Islamic Republic of Iran supports the policy of brotherhood and good neighborliness among the neighboring countries in the South China Sea and invites both sides (China and the Philippines) to practice self-restraint,” Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bahram Qassemi told reporters in Tehran on Monday.

He expressed the hope that the dispute “would be settled through peaceful means, negotiations and talks”.

His remarks came as an international tribunal ruled against China in the disputed South China Sea.

The case at the tribunal in The Hague was brought by the Philippines, which argues Chinese activity in the region is against international law.

China claims almost all of the South China Sea, including reefs and islands also claimed by others.

China says the tribunal has no right to rule on the case.

The US has sent an aircraft carrier and fighter jets to the region, prompting an angry editorial in the Global Times, a strongly nationalist state-run newspaper, calling for China to prepare for “military confrontation”.

Meanwhile, the Chinese Navy has been carrying out exercises near the disputed Paracel islands.

China says about 60 countries support its stance that the tribunal’s ruling should be rejected.

Earlier this month, Iranian Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani warned Asian countries that the West seeks to make them busy with baseless conflicts to attain its goals.

“Asia will have an important role in the world’s future and the future economic jumps will be done by Asia and the Asian culture is the result of important values which can be novel for the new world,” Larijani said in a meeting with members of the presiding board of the International Conference of Asian Political Parties (ICAPP) in Tehran.

Referring to certain existing challenges in the region, he said, “One of these challenges is making the regional countries busy with differences and conflicts which have no reason and will merely benefit the enemies of the region.”

He expressed doubt if the western states are truly willing to take serious steps to resolve the crises in the region, and said, “They don’t have any motivation to this end and therefore, the only remaining option is that we ourselves make a move to this end.”

By Fars News Agency