Dialogue-first approach

Updated: 2013-08-06 09:40

(China Daily)

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China continues to make sincere efforts to properly handle the differences that exist with some of its neighbors, as better management of the South China Sea disputes will promote the strategic partnership between China and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.

At the high level forum in Bangkok to mark the 10th anniversary of the strategic partnership between China and ASEAN, China's Foreign Minister Wang Yi stressed the country is always open to dialogue with the disputing parties.

He also proposed the continued implementation of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea while gradually pushing forward consultations on a code of conduct.

When meeting the media on Monday, Wang made clear China's views on the Code of Conduct in the South China Sea. He said that expectations for conduct should remain reasonable and it is neither realistic nor serious to suggest a code of conduct could be agreed in a day. The making of the code of conduct, which relates to interests of different parties, will be a long and complicated process requiring the dedicated efforts of all parties, he said.

The foreign minister also said that all countries should do whatever they can to create conditions conducive to drawing up a code of conduct. Extensive consensus should be sought to demonstrate sufficient concern for the feelings of all countries rather than letting a few countries force their will onto other countries.

It is not in the interest of any countries involved in the disputes to kick up a row or try to make negotiations difficult. Rather it is better for them to sit down and consult on a code of conduct that can be accepted and observed by all parties.

What the strategic partnership has achieved for both China and ASEAN - rapid expansion of trade and closer economic cooperation - suggests that promoting regional peace and development should be the fundamental guideline for efforts to better manage the South China Sea disputes.

It is with this in mind that China always emphasizes the importance of dialogue. If all parties think the same way, it will be easier to reach a consensus on the management and settlement of the disputes.

Since that is not the case at present, there is no way to accomplish an immediate solution to the disputes. So the process of consensus building will test the sincerity of parties concerned.