New Delhi, Aug 31:

US Secretary of State John Kerry here on Wednesday sent out a strong message to China over its dispute with the Philippines on the contentious South China sea and warned that the “international order” should not be underestimated.

John Kerry
John Kerry

The US diplomat cited India as an example in abiding by the international order when it accepted a decision of a UN tribunal on its maritime boundary with Bangladesh.

“…India’s decision to accept an international tribunal’s judgment over its maritime border with Bangladesh actually stands apart from other choices made by other countries,” Kerry said, during a lecture he delivered at the premier technical institute Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Delhi.

“This is the kind of policy that supports rule of law, and in my judgment (it) reflects confidence and a sense of responsibility.”

“It is a model how a potentially dangerous dispute can be resolved peacefully, including the South China Sea where the US continues to call on China and the Philippines to abide by the tribunal’s recent decision which is final and legally binding on both parties,” Kerry added.

“This is a crucial opportunity to uphold the existing rules in the international order, and don’t for an instant underestimate the importance of that order,” he said.

Bejing, on the other hand, had rejected a recent decision by The Hague-based Permanent Court of Attribution (PCA) over strategic reefs and atolls that Beijing claims would give it control over disputed waters of the South China Sea. The judgment was in favour of the Philippines.

Kerry added that the “bottom line” was that “deep cooperation between India and the US matters a great deal to both of our countries, but it also matters to the rest of the world”.

Kerry is scheduled to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi later on Wednesday. He arrived in New Delhi on Monday on a three-day official visit. (IANS)