ASEAN meeting improper platform for South China Sea issue
Updated: 2015-08-04 18:17
BEIJING - The ongoing 48th Foreign Ministers' Meeting of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, is not a proper platform for discussing the South China Sea issue but an important one for promoting regional cooperation.
Top of the agenda of the meeting is the establishment of the ASEAN Community and the Post-2015 Vision, as the ten-nation bloc is in the final stages of realizing the goal of establishing an ASEAN Community that involves a plan to create a common economic, political-security and socio-cultural region by the end of this year.
In this sense, participants of the Foreign Ministers' Meeting and following meetings need to discuss regional cooperation in such fields as trade and economy, communication, and non-traditional security in East Asia.
Those multi-lateral forums have never been an appropriate place for discussing specific bilateral disputes, and attempts to do so can not help resolve the underlying issues as proven by past experiences.
On the contrary, hyping up the South China Sea issue will undermine the generally stable situation in the region which has not come about easily, and runs counter to the measurable progress achieved during the 9th China-ASEAN senior officials' meeting in Tianjin, China, days ago.
During the Tianjin meeting, China and ASEAN countries agreed to cooperate in such areas as combating transnational crimes to implement the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC), and bring the Code of Conduct (COC) consultation into a new phase of discussing crucial and complex issues.
The two sides have agreed to adopt a dual-track approach in resolving the South China Sea issue. That means the directly concerned states will properly resolve the South China Sea issue through peaceful negotiation, and in the meantime, China and ASEAN countries will work together to maintain peace and stability in the South China Sea.
"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," Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said on Monday. "We will never allow any country to destabilize the South China Sea."
China has repeatedly urged Washingtion, Tokyo and other parties not directly concerned to refrain from taking sides in the South China Sea territorial disputes, but take concrete actions to maintain regional peace and stability.
Regional countries like the Philippines should stop unconstructive moves that run against the spirit of the DOC.
In sum, China is committed to resolving the disputes peacefully through negotiation and consultation, managing differences by establishing rules and mechanisms, safeguarding freedom of navigation and flyover, and generating win-win results through cooperation.