Freedom of civilian navigation in South China Sea more of a pretext: former Chinese vice foreign minister

2024-02-18 Editor : Zhao Li ECNS App Download

(ECNS) -- Fu Ying, founding chairperson of the Center for International Security and Strategy at Tsinghua University, pointed out at a panel discussion at the Munich Security Conference that the emphasis on freedom of navigation of civilian ships in the South China Sea seems to be more of a pretext, rather than a true concern.

The panel discussion, themed on Shoring Up Defenses: Security in the Indo-Pacific, was held Saturday in Germany.

Fu Ying, who is also former Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs of China, noted that unlike the Red Sea, where the focus is mainly on civilian ships, in the South China Sea, freedom of navigation pertains more to military vessels, particularly those of the United States.

“When (the U.S.) talks about South China Sea freedom of navigation, it's not about the commercial ships, it's about American military vessels,” she said.

She reaffirms that the safety of civilian navigation in the South China Sea has never been a true concern, as evidenced by the insurance premiums in the shipping industry.

“If you want to know the safety of civilian navigation in the South China Sea, you could very well check with the shipping industry. You will find the premium never goes up because of the tensions in the South China Sea,” she said.

“Freedom of navigation of the civilian ships has never been a problem. It's just an excuse,” she added.

(Video via Munich Security Conference)


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