Statement on the Adoption of the South China Sea Motion

April 24, 2018

Senator Thanh Hai Ngo today made the following statement regarding the adoption of the Senate motion to urge the government to take the steps necessary to de-escalate tensions and restore peace and stability in the South China Sea:

“By passing this motion, the Senate is stating its concern on China’s escalating and hostile behaviour in the South China Sea, and urging the Government of Canada to take a principled position on one of the biggest geopolitical conflicts of our time.

“After two years of debate, the Senate is pronouncing a clear message to the House of Commons and exercising its role as the chamber of sober second thought on a foreign affairs policy matter where China’s challenge to the international order, the rule of law and the democratic world cannot be overlooked.

“With a recorded vote of 43 Yeas, 28 nays, and 6 abstention, the Senate is calling upon the Canadian government to take a leading role in urging all involved parties in the South China Sea dispute to:

(a) recognize and uphold the rights of freedom of navigation and overflight as enshrined in customary international law and in the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea;

(b) cease all activities that would complicate or escalate the disputes, such as the construction of artificial islands, land reclamation, and further militarization of the region;

(c) abide by all previous multilateral efforts to resolve the disputes and commit to the successful implementation of a binding Code of Conduct in the South China Sea;

(d) commit to finding a peaceful and diplomatic solution to the disputes in line with the provisions of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea and respect the settlements reached through international arbitration; and

(e) strengthen efforts to significantly reduce the environmental impacts of the disputes upon the fragile ecosystem of the South China Sea;

“Canada must become a more principled actor in the South China Sea—a region that is a fulcrum of global trade and a crucible of conflict that will shape the course of the 21st century, especially as a member of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership.

“The Government cannot afford to ignore the emerging realities of the South China Sea disputes. It must take an active role supporting its diplomatic allies working on the path of fairness, respect for freedom of navigation and the rule of law.”


For more information, please contact:

Office of the Honourable Senator Thanh Hai Ngo




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