International rules ought to be recognized by all countries, as they represent all nations’interests, said He Lei, head of the Chinese delegation to the Shangri-La Dialogue, whichwas held in Singapore on June 3. He added that China is a follower and guardian ofinternational and regional rules.
He, also the vice president of the PLA Academy of Military Science, made the remarks at apress conference after four defense ministers from the U.S., Japan, Australia and Francedelivered their respective speeches, all touching on international rules.
“China and the Chinese government protect and follow international and regional rulesbecause the charter of the United Nations is the largest one among all international rules-based orders,” he explained.
U.S. Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis said at the first plenary session on June 3 that theU.S. “cannot accept Chinese actions that impinge on the interests of the internationalcommunity, undermining the rules-based order that has benefited all countriesrepresented here today, including and especially China.” Japanese Defense MinisterTomomi Inada said in her speech that China and North Korea should abide byinternational rules so as to protect regional peace and stability.
Australia’s Minister for Defense, Marise Payne, along with the country’s prime minister,Malcolm Turnbull, both mentioned rules in their speeches as well. Payne cited China asthe greatest example of a country that has benefited from an international rules-basedorder, and recommended that China continue abiding by the rules with regards to thecurrent situation in the South China Sea.
Turnbull praised the U.S.-anchored rules-based order as a remarkable system whereinnations big and small play by the rules and respect each other’s sovereignty.
He noted that the United Nations charter is a “mother law,” and China was the firstcountry to initiate and sign the charter.
China has so far signed more than 23,000 bilateral and 400 multilateral agreements, andparticipated in all UN commissions, He noted, adding that China abides by, supports andprotects the international and regional rules-based order.
In addition, the head of the Chinese delegation discussed the free navigation component ofthe rules-based order, saying that close reconnaissance, such as military operations byfleets and aircraft in waters and airspace adjacent to Chinese islands, does not constitutefree navigation. The Chinese government and people resolutely oppose such actions, headded.
(The story is also published on People’s Daily Online)