Due to the large volume of international maritime trade passing through the South China Sea, the European Commission said that freedom of navigation and overflight must remain in the area.
As China continues constructing islands in the area, the EU expressed its concerns about the situation in the East and South China Seas, and added that the EU should “continue to emphasise the importance of peaceful settlement of disputes and to oppose unilateral actions that could alter the status quo and increase tensions.”
The European Commission said that the EU wants to see free passage and overflight upheld in the East and South China Seas as it aims to set out a policy framework for EU engagement with China for the next five years.
The announcement follows China’s latest plans to launch cruise lines which would operate in the disputed area starting from July.
The country’s shipping major China COSCO Shipping Corporation (COSCOCS) said that its first route would depart from China’s Sanya to the Yongle Island, part of the disputed Xisha Islands, which are also claimed by Vietnam and Taiwan.
The company reportedly also plans to launch other routes in the South China Sea and Taiwan Straits.
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