China, ASEAN to hold meetings on S China Sea

Updated: 2013-07-01 00:41


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BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN - China and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) will hold senior officials' meetings in September in China to push forward consultations over the key documents related to dispute management on the South China Sea, foreign ministers said in a joint press release on Sunday.

The meetings are the 6th Senior Officials' Meeting and the 9th Joint Working Group on the implementation of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South china Sea (DOC).

They will have in-depth exchange of views on the full and effective implementation of the DOC and enhance maritime cooperation, and "have the official consultations on the COC within the framework of the implementation of the DOC."

China and ASEAN signed the DOC in 2002, outlining the most important principles in the management of disputes on the South China Sea. They achieved consensus recently to push for consultations to develop a more detailed Code of Conduct in the South China Sea (COC).

The foreign ministers at a meeting in Brunei on Sunday said they reiterated "the need to steadily move towards the conclusion of a COC on the basis of consensus."

Speaking at a press conference after the meeting, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said that China is willing to work together with the ASEAN nations to push forward the process of developing a code of conduct from the declaration.

"The commitment to developing a COC is part of the DOC. This is a continual, gradual and deepening process. You can't separate them from each other," he said. "You can't have a COC without a DOC."

Wang said China has fully complied with the principles it committed to under the DOC over the past years.

The Chinese foreign minister said he is confident that both China and its ASEAN neighbors shall be able to safeguard the peace and stability in the South China Sea.

He also stressed that the overall peace and security has been safeguarded on the South China Sea.

"The differences on the South China Sea are not an issue between China and the whole of ASEAN. It should not, and will not, have a substantial impact on the overall relationship between us," he said.

The few individual countries that go against the prevailing trend of peace and stability on the South China Sea will not have the support of the majority of nations, he added.