Written by China Global Television Network
The proceedings of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) about the South China Sea in Friday afternoon’s committee session yielded exhaustive debate from all sides, including an unexpected stance presented by the Russian Federation.
Historically supportive of Vietnam, Russia seems to have found itself in a tug of war between its common allies on opposing sides of the contest: Vietnam and China. In Vietnam’s absence in committee, Russia spoke extensively about China’s rights in the Sea, specifically defending the construction of artificial islands.
The Russian delegate in UNSC pointed to issues with the current definitions in debate, noting that the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) guidelines do not restrict China from establishing and claiming islands as their own. The delegation argued that these conditions endorse “legitimate claims for China to expand their reach” and called for a re-defining of natural island in collaboration with China.
In addition to Russia’s apparent support of Chinese sovereignty, the country has also forged diplomatic agreements with unlikely delegates, including the United States of America. Multiple directives co-sponsored by Russia and the U.S. have repeatedly fought for neutrality by the UNSC.
Whereas the United States has advocated for international neutrality and the firm protection of the Sea as international waters, the direction of Russia’s debate has focused on both Chinese priority but also a hands-off approach from international forces. Rather than western forces arbitrating the dispute, Russia claims, the Association of Southeastern Nations (ASEAN) should take the lead for its own concerns.
Russia aligns somewhat with the Equatorial Guinea delegation in this respect, who criticized the U.S. and its allies’ assumption of a “big brother role,” but the Russian-Equatorial Guinean relationship has not been otherwise agreeable.
Fellow delegates have agreed and disagreed with both of Russia’s arguments, but China recognized Russia’s friendliness, thanking the delegate for their “wholehearted support of China.” However, as open as Russia is to recognizing Chinese interests, the nation is not proactively attempting to regulate those interests.
Russia’s traditionally strong diplomatic presence has been replaced, in this committee, by a biased but noncommittal slant. The delegation admitted, “We can’t oppose dialogue,” but has repeatedly opposed infringement by the United Nations or western countries.
China Global Television Network will keep our readers informed on the continuing debate and uncharacteristic behavior of the Russian delegation in UNSC.