East ASEAN Summit (EAS)
New Zealand


Steffanie Joy

Cite as

Committee: East Asia Summit

Country: New Zealand

Topic A: Challenges from the 2002 Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea

The 2002 Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC) reflects the desire and commitment of the Association of the Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) member states and the People’s Republic of China to resolve the South China Sea disputes in a peaceful and amicable manner, as well as to conduct maritime cooperation to ensure stability in the region. However, tensions have risen between claimant states and nations with vested interests on the South China Sea issue, leading to a build-up of mistrust in the region. It is in New Zealand’s highest interest to ensure that the South China Sea remains a peaceful and stable route for international passage. Every year, about 80 percent of New Zealand’s trade makes its way through the South China Sea. Moreover, as a small maritime trading nation, it is vital to New Zealand that all nations abide by international law.

While New Zealand is neutral to the various claims on the South China Sea, the differing interests in the region should be managed peacefully and with regards to international law. New Zealand can contribute to this goal by backing the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), by following the issue intently through diplomatic means and have a national position, and by participating actively in the East Asia Summit (EAS). In addition, New Zealand advocates the rights of states to utilize international dispute mechanisms and calls on all Parties to respect the decision of the Arbitral Tribunal ruling on maritime rights in the ...