China to safe­guard sea sta­bil­ity: Li

Coun­tries in S.China Sea re­turn to ‘right track’ of talks

Global Times - - Front Page -

China will firmly safe­guard the free­dom of nav­i­ga­tion and over­flight around the South China Sea, Chi­nese Pre­mier Li Ke­qiang said Tues­day at the 12th East Asia Sum­mit.

Li said China is the largest coun­try in the South China Sea and a ma­jor coun­try that uses the lanes in the sea, thus it shows more in­ter­est in safe­guard­ing peace, sta­bil­ity, and nav­i­ga­tional free­dom in the South China Sea than any other coun­try in the world.

He stressed that peace and sta­bil­ity in the South China Sea ben­e­fits all coun­tries, and with the joint ef­forts of China and the As­so­ci­a­tion of South­east Asian Na­tions (ASEAN), the sit­u­a­tion in the South China Sea tends to re­main sta­ble and shows pos­i­tive signs.

The re­lated coun­tries in the South China Sea is­sue have re­turned to the right track of ne­go­ti­a­tions and con­sul­ta­tions, and their re­la­tions have con­stantly im­proved, he said.

“Lead­ers of the ASEAN coun­tries and I jointly an­nounced yes­ter­day the start of con­sul­ta­tions on the text of the Code of Con­duct (COC) in the South China Sea,” Li said.

The COC frame­work was adopted in Au­gust by a meet­ing of ASEAN and Chi­nese for­eign min­is­ters.

The Chi­nese pre­mier said the frame­work fully rep­re­sents the com­mon will of the re­gional coun­tries, and that they should prop­erly han­dle dif­fer­ences through di­a­logue and ne­go­ti­a­tion, and safe­guard the peace and sta­bil­ity of the South China Sea.

It also shows the con­fi­dence, wis­dom, and ca­pac­ity of the re­gional coun­tries to prop­erly set­tle the South China Sea is­sue in order to make it a sea of peace, friend­ship and co­op­er­a­tion, he said.

Dur­ing the 20th ASEANChina, Ja­pan and South Korea (10+3) lead­ers’ meet­ing, Li said China ex­pects to work with ASEAN on the ba­sis of friendly ne­go­ti­a­tions to im­ple­ment the Dec­la­ra­tion on the Con­duct of Par­ties in the South China Sea (DOC) and to push for con­sul­ta­tions on the COC.

The ASEAN-China di­a­logue was es­tab­lished in 1991 and el­e­vated to a strate­gic part­ner­ship in 2003, the Xin­hua News Agency re­ported.

China pro­posed the for­mu­la­tion of a vi­sion for strate­gic part­ner­ship be­tween China and ASEAN to­ward the year 2030 to up­grade co­op­er­a­tion, the Chi­nese pre­mier said on Mon­day.

Li said China-ASEAN co­op­er­a­tion will have more global sub­stance and build a new ex­em­plar for South-South co­op­er­a­tion.

He added that it is a con­sen­sus of ASEAN na­tions that China-ASEAN re­la­tions are the most vi­brant and have the rich­est con­tent among re­la­tions ASEAN has with its part­ners. China was the first ma­jor coun­try out­side the bloc to en­dorse the Treaty of Amity and Co­op­er­a­tion in South­east Asia, to form a strate­gic part­ner­ship with ASEAN, and to start free trade area talks with it.

Es­tab­lished in 1967, ASEAN is cel­e­brat­ing its 50th an­niver­sary this year.

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