China: South China Sea dispute to end win-win for all

Foreign minister says on sidelines of ASEAN China committed to resolve issue peacefully by negotiation, consultation

China: South China Sea dispute to end win-win for all

World Bulletin / News Desk

China has said it is confident territorial disputes in the South China Sea will end in a win-win situation for everyone involved, despite its position remaining steadfast on the issue.

Foreign Minister Wang Yi told a press conference on the sidelines of Association of Southeast Asian Nations Foreign Ministers Meeting in Kuala Lumpur on Wednesday that China is committed to resolve the issue peacefully by negotiation and consultation.

"Uphold the dual-track approach, speed up the full and effective implementation of the Declaration on the Conduct (DOC) of Parties in the South China Sea in its entirely and accelerate consultation on a Code of Conduct (COC)," he instructed as a way forward.

Malaysia's Foreign Minister Seri Anifah Aman told reporter Wednesday that there had been progress in consultations on the COC but the pace must be hastened.

“We urge our senior officials to intensify their consultations so that the CoC can be established as soon as possible,” he said.

Wang said Wednesday that any differences can be managed by the rules and mechanisms are already in place as part of consultations on the sea.

China claims almost all of the rescourse rich area, while overlapping territorial maritime claims involve ASEAN members the Philippines, Malaysia, Vietnam and Brunei.

He underlined that China and the Southeast Asian grouping have enough capability and wisdom to solve the dispute between them, without interference from outside and a priority was to maintain peace. 

The United States and Japan have expressed alarm at China's expansion, which they suspect is aimed at extending its military reach, while ASEAN member the Philippines - which calls the area the West Philippine Sea - has taken the quarrel to the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea in The Hague.

"The prospects of co-operation [between China and ASEAN] are bright and we have confidence in the progress that we can achieve in it," Wang added.

He said that this week he'd met with foreign ministers - including those from the United States, Singapore and Malaysia - to discuss the matter, and although discussions were "smooth and progressive" they did not shy away from the dispute.

The minister said a recently forwarded Chinese proposal welcomed by ASEAN countries was aimed at developing preventative measures to manage risk on the sea.

"In the framework, China and ASEAN countries are equally-footed and we can put our ideas and proposals on the table to see which ones are most feasible and which ideas can be best translated into concrete actions," he added. 

Wang said that at Wednesday's meet, China had tabled a three-point proposal to maintain peace and stability in the sea, of which full implementation of DOC and a speeding up of COC consultations were prioritised. 

"We hold on non-regional countries to support the above mentioned efforts by the regional countries and we also call on them to refrain from taking any actions that might heighten tension and escalate or complicate the regional situation," he said

"We hope all countries can commit to exercise and uphold the freedom of navigation and overflight in the South China Sea, which is permitted within the international law." 

Last year, China began a massive reclamation project on about half a dozen land features in the area, adding about 3,000 acres of artificial land and turning what were mere rocks barely above water at low tide into artificial islands large enough to host runways long enough to accommodate high-performance jet aircraft and naval docking.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 05 Ağustos 2015, 16:36
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