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China, ASEAN cooperation improves situation in South China Sea, no outside interference wanted for COC negotiation: Chinese FM
Last Updated: 2017-08-08 07:14 | Xinhua
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Joint efforts by China and members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) have greatly improved the situation in the South China Sea, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said here Monday, pointing out that China and ASEAN have the ability and the wisdom to negotiate the Code of Conduct (COC).

From China's point of view, the most substantial progress made at the ASEAN foreign ministers' meetings and related meetings was that with the joint efforts of China and ASEAN countries, the situation in the South China Sea has been stabilized, Wang told reporters after attending the meetings.

"We have carried out effective cooperations and have brought it back to the track to resolve disputes through direct dialogue and negotiation by the parties directly concerned," he said.

China and ASEAN countries have successfully drawn up and adopted the framework of the COC in the South China Sea, announcing that they would initiate the substantive consultations on the text of the COC at a proper time within the year after preparation is completed, the minister said.

Speaking at the earlier 7th East Asia Summit (EAS) foreign ministers' meeting, Wang said the momentum of improvement on the situation in the South China Sea is obvious compared with last year.

"We should fully appreciate these important improvements and cherish the achievement made with our joint efforts," Wang said.

At the China-ASEAN foreign ministers meeting on Sunday, Wang said that ASEAN foreign ministers highly evaluated the stabilizing situation in the South China Sea and the COC framework adopted at the meeting.

"This is the current mainstream view of the countries in the region," Wang said.

Wang said that China will always take a responsible attitude in dealing with the South China Sea issue and that China will, on the basis of respect for historical facts and in accordance with relevant international law, solve disputes through dialogue and consultation with all parties concerned.

The positive change in the South China Sea was also reflected in the joint communiqué issued by ASEAN foreign ministers, said Wang.

He pointed out that the joint communiqué was a comprehensive document which fully demonstrated the key progresses in the China-ASEAN relations and various parties' confidence in the prospect of China-ASEAN relations.

As to the paragraphs on the South China Sea, Wang noted that the section was present in the joint communiqué every year, but was significantly shortened in this year's document.

Meanwhile, all ASEAN members fully acknowledged achievements in cooperating with China and the improving situation in the South China Sea, fully recognized the COC framework which they jointly drew up and adopted with China, and affirmed positive attitude on the initiation of the substantive consultations.

However, the minister said, some outside countries preferred to stay in the past, turned a blind eye to the positive change of the situation, not willing to recognized the achievement by the joint efforts by China and ASEAN, and even released negative information.

"We have to ask whether some countries are not willing to see the stabilization of the South China Sea. Is the further stabilization of the South China Sea is not in the interest of these countries?" he said.

Wang told the EAS meeting that China and ASEAN countries have the ability and wisdom to negotiate the COC.

"We don't want any non-regional countries to keep telling us what to do, and even try to play teaching chess games for us," he said.

He added that China and ASEAN will continue to press ahead with the negotiations of the COC with full implementation of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC), in the hope of establishing commonly recognized regional rules.

"We have the same aspirations: the finally reached COC with be the upgraded version of the DOC," Wang said.

"We hope non-regional countries will take notice of the positive changes in the South China Sea in the past year and respect the efforts that China and ASEAN have paid to achieve the result," Wang said. Enditem

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