FM: Outsiders will hopefully support direct negotiation
Updated: 2016-02-26 14:09
By ZHANG YUNBI(chinadaily.com.cn)
Foreign Minister Wang Yi urged countries from beyond the region of the South China Sea to "support the resolution of the relevant disputes through direct negotiation", adding that the general situation there is stable.
He made the comments while addressing the Washington-based think tank, the Center for Strategic and International Studies on Thursday.
"Let me say to you, the general situation there is stable. No commercial vessel has complained that its freedom of navigation has been threatened or jeopardized," Wang said.
Wang noted the disputes over part of the islands and reefs in the Nansha Islands and the fact that 42 of China's islands and reefs there have been illegally occupied by others.
Still, the Chinese government's position is to have a peaceful resolution of the issue through dialogue and negotiation, in accordance with international law, including the UN Convention of the Law of the Seas (UNCLOS), Wang said.
"This is a firm commitment from the Chinese government which has ensured the general stability of the situation in the South China Sea," Wang added.
Also Wang noted that China and ASEAN countries "have every capability" to maintain peace and stability in the South China Sea on their own.
The minsiter referred to Article 4 of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC) signed by China and the 10 ASEAN countries, which makes it clear that the dispute must be resolved by the directly concerned states.
"The Philippines has refused dialogue with us. Still, China and the other ASEAN countries are implementing the article," Wang said.
Countries in the region should work together to maintain peace and stability in the South China Sea, and to uphold the freedom of navigation in accordance with international law. And China will play its due role, Wang said.
"Countries from outside the region, it is hoped, will support the resolution of the relevant disputes through direct negotiation, and support the efforts of China and ASEAN to maintain peace and stability in the South China Sea region," Wang added.
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