China, ASEAN to work together to safeguard peace, stability of South China Sea
Updated: 2015-08-04 11:28
SINGAPORE - Visiting Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said Monday that China is committed to working with ASEAN (the Association of Southeast Asian Nations) members to implement the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC) and enhance consultations on the Code of Conduct (COC) to maintain peace and stability of the sea.
Wang Yi, who is on a two-day visit to Singapore, made the remarks at a press conference here.
Stressing that China and ASEAN have agreed to adopt the dual-track approach in resolving the South China Sea issue, the Chinese foreign minister said that parallel progress has been made along DOC and COC, with measurable progress already achieved during the 9th China-ASEAN senior officials' meeting in Tianjin days ago.
On the COC, for example, all parties agreed the COC consultation will enter into the new phase of discussing crucial and complex issues. China and ASEAN will begin working on common elements in producing a COC framework, he said.
During the meeting in Tianjin, senior diplomats from China and Southeast Asia also agreed to set up an eminent persons and experts group (EPEG) as soon as possible to provide expertise to the COC consultation, as well as two hotline platforms between China and ASEAN countries, which will focus on maritime search and rescue as well as respond to maritime emergencies, the minister said, adding that they also agreed to begin to develop some preventive measures in response to risks at the South China Sea before the conclusion of the COC.
In terms of implementing the DOC, Wang said that China and ASEAN countries agreed to cooperate in the areas of maritime navigation safety and search and rescue, maritime science and combating transnational crimes to advance China-ASEAN cooperation.
"It took 10 years from the first proposal to the idea of DOC to the final completion of its negotiation, and it has been less than two years since the idea of COC was first raised, and already so much progress has been made, which in my view is really significant," Wang stressed.
"It's the result of the joint efforts of China and ASEAN countries. It's also a test to China's sincerity of COC consultation. We welcome non-regional countries to support the COC consultation, but we don't welcome non-regional countries to make improper remarks on COC consultation," he emphasized.