China's illegal reclamation and construction of islands in the South China Sea.
(Photo: Reuters / VNA)
Dr. Takashi Hosoda, Asia-Pacific security research expert at Charles University, said that China does not have a legal basis to claim sovereignty over most of the South China Sea under its "nine-dash line" claim because in 2016, the United Nations Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) issued a ruling rejecting the legal basis for nearly all of China’s expansive maritime and territorial claims in the South China Sea. According to Mr. Hosoda, since Germany and France play an important role in shaping the general EU policy, the moves of the E3 group are a sign that the EU is increasingly interested in and pushes for resolution of maritime disputes in line with complying international law and ensuring security, safety and freedom of navigation and overflight in the South China Sea.
Dr. Jan Hornat, an Indo-Pacific research expert at Charles University, said that the South China Sea is important for the EU not only for its security and economics, but also in terms of "open and free seas." The EU is most concerned about respect for the rule of law, he said.
Vaclav Kopecky, Asian security researcher of the Association for International Affairs, said the E3 and the EU generally are concerned about the South China Sea situation and China's militarization activities there, and wish to contribute to ensuring maritime security in the South China Sea for peace, stability and development.