Er­do­gan speaks with Ab­bas on Turk­ish-Is­raeli deal over Gaza

Pakistan Observer - - INTERNATIONAL -

To be spe­cific, China’s pol­icy ob­jec­tives in the South China Sea could be read through the fol­low­ing an­gles.

First, China’s fun­da­men­tal pol­icy ob­jec­tive for the South China Sea is to safe­guard its sovereignty and mar­itime rights. Tac­ti­cally, China has been re­frain­ing from proac­tive mo­tions, which means to act with re­straint, and to take coun­ter­mea­sures when pro­voked. As for the cur­rent sta­tus quo of some of the Nan­sha is­lands and reefs under other coun­tries’ oc­cu­pa­tion, China will not give up its sovereignty stance. How­ever, con­sid­er­ing that China has sig­nif­i­cantly in­creased its ca­pac­ity to con­trol the sit­u­a­tion and to pre­vent any fur­ther loss, it is highly ad­vis­able that as long as no new ma­jor threat looms large, China should con­tinue to up­hold the pol­icy of “shelv­ing the dis­putes and seek­ing joint de­vel­op­ment”, and to take in store the re­al­ity in the field. The out­come of the ar­bi­tra­tion ini­ti­ated by the Philip­pines could not shake China’s fun­da­men­tal pol­icy lines. Sec­ond, China’s pol­icy on the South China Sea also con­cerns the free­dom and safety of nav­i­ga­tion. Be­ing an in­ter­na­tional path­way of strate­gic im­por­tance, the South China Sea has the busiest com­mer­cial ship­ping routes, al­low­ing 40 per­cent of the world’s ocean freight to pass through. The free­dom and safety of nav­i­ga­tion in the area are in­dis­pens­able to all ma­jor economies, China in­cluded. As the big­gest bene­fac­tor of the path­way, China re­lies on those routes for 70 to 80 per­cent of its trade and en­ergy sup­plies. The path­way also serves as an im­por­tant pas­sage for the Chi­nese navy to sail to the wider sea.

Third, the com­mon de­nom­i­na­tor of China and its neigh­bors in the South China Sea is re­gional peace and sta­bil­ity. China does not have an agenda or mo­tive to seek hege­mony in the re­gion. The very rea­son that China ex­er­cises re­straint and keep the dis­putes and dif­fer­ences under con­trol is ex­actly for the sake of main­tain­ing peace in the gen­eral en­vi­ron­ment. In this re­gard, China should con­tinue to make ef­forts in the fol­low­ing as­pects: to pro­vide and share more in­for­ma­tion with oth­ers for bet­ter un­der­stand­ing; to of­fer more pub­lic goods for the well-be­ing and safety of all; to com­plete the “code of con­duct” with ASEAN mem­bers for a rule based re­gional or­der.

Fourth, China and the US share com­mon strate­gic in­ter­ests in main­tain­ing the free­dom and safety of nav­i­ga­tion, and pro­mot­ing sta­bil­ity and pros­per­ity in the South China Sea area. China and the US are not dis­put­ing par­ties to each other. There­fore, the two coun­tries should avoid the trap of se­cu­rity dilemma and mis­un­der­stand­ings by en­gag­ing in di­a­logues and clar­i­fy­ing each other’s in­ten­tions. China and the US need and should be able to work to­wards co­op­er­a­tion. As China is grow­ing into a mar­itime power, the wider seas and oceans in the world are in­creas­ingly im­por­tant to its de­vel­op­ment as well as its global co­op­er­a­tion. Any spec­u­la­tions on its in­ten­tions based on con­ven­tional land power men­tal­i­ties may not be ac­cu­rate.

The fu­ture di­rec­tion of trend would very much de­pend on the per­cep­tions and choices of the par­ties in­volved. If they choose to co­op­er­ate, they may all win. If they choose to con­front each other, they may only head for im­passe or even con­flict and no one can ben­e­fit to­tally. ANKARA—Turk­ish Pres­i­dent Tayyip Er­do­gan spoke with Pales­tinian Pres­i­dent Mah­moud Ab­bas by tele­phone on Mon­day night and told him a deal had been reached with Is­rael to im­prove the hu­man­i­tar­ian sit­u­a­tion in Gaza, sources from the Turk­ish pres­i­dency said.

The call came as se­nior of­fi­cials from both Turkey and Is­rael said a deal had been reached to nor­mal­ize ties to end a rift dat­ing to 2010, af­ter the Is­raeli navy killed 10 Turk­ish proPales­tinian ac­tivists in­volved in an aid flotilla that tried to breach an Is­raeli block­ade of the Gaza Strip. The pres­i­den­tial sources said Ab­bas ex­pressed sat­is­fac­tion with the de­vel­op­ments. A deal was ex­pected to be for­mally an­nounced at 1000 GMT by Is­raeli Prime Min­is­ter Ne­tanyahu in Rome and Turk­ish Prime Min­is­ter Bi­nali Yildirim in Ankara.

Is­rael, which had al­ready of­fered its apolo­gies - one of Ankara’s three con­di­tions for a deal - for the lethal raid on the Mavi Mar­mara ac­tivist ship, agreed to pay out $20 mil­lion to the be­reaved and in­jured, an Is­raeli of­fi­cial said.

A se­nior Turk­ish of­fi­cial de­scribed the deal as a “diplo­matic vic­tory” for Turkey which ac­cepted Ankara’s con­di­tions, al­though Is­rael has not agreed to lift the Gaza block­ade, one of the con­di­tions for an agree­ment. Under the deal, Turkey will de­liver hu­man­i­tar­ian aid and other non­mil­i­tary prod­ucts to Gaza and carry out in­fra­struc­ture projects, such as res­i­den­tial build­ings and a hos­pi­tal, the of­fi­cial said. Steps to tackle the city’s wa­ter and power sup­ply cri­sis will also be taken.—Agen­cies

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