China is intensifying its global diplomatic campaign to win support ahead of an imminent international court ruling over the South China Sea disputes.
The development came yesterday as Beijing vowed greater cooperation and to proceed with multinational military exercises with Southeast Asian nations, but also called on countries to back its stance on the territorial disputes – putting many in a dilemma as they have to side with either China or the United States.
President Xi Jinping told a group of foreign ministers from Asia and the Middle East that the disputes should be resolved through negotiations between the countries involved. "We insist we should peacefully resolve the disputes through friendly consultations and negotiations with other parties directly involved," Xi said.
Beijing also said it had reached a consensus with Belarus and Pakistan – which are not claimant states – that said they respected China's stance on the issue, after separate meetings yesterday with the two nations' foreign ministers on the sidelines of the Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia.
The State Oceanic Administration said Beijing was working on a five-year cooperation plan in the disputed waters between China and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, Xinhua reported.