China seeks to defuse border issues

Updated: 2013-12-26 07:37

By Zhou Wa and Zhao Yanrong (China Daily USA)

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China and neighboring countries should "properly control" border disputes until boundaries have been agreed, a senior diplomat in charge of boundary and ocean affairs said on Wednesday.

Ouyang Yujing, a deputy director-general of the Foreign Ministry's department of boundary and ocean affairs, introduced China's plan to deal with border issues during an open day event at the ministry.

Before settling boundary disputes, China and relevant countries should find a convergence of interests through joint development to ease the tense situation, Ouyang said.

He elaborated on the three principals China holds to resolve border issues with its neighbors.

They should resolve the boundary issue through direct negotiation, maintain the status quo before final settlement and defuse the issue through cooperation to create a stable and harmonious atmosphere for an eventual solution, he said.

That plan has the lowest cost and smallest impact and will bring enduring results, he said.

The deputy-director called for more confidence and patience to resolve the disputes, given that they are all sensitive issues with complex factors.

China shares borders with 14 nations, including the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Russia, Mongolia, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India and Nepal.

By May 2013, 20,000 kilometers, the demarcation of about 90 percent of China's 22,000 km of land boundaries had been agreed to with neighbors.

Beijing also shares maritime boundaries with eight countries - the DPRK, the Republic of Korea, Japan, the Philippines, Malaysia, Vietnam, Brunei and Indonesia. The notable maritime disputes China has are with Japan and the Philippines.

According to China's Ocean Development Report (2013), which was released by the China Institute for Marine Affairs under the State Oceanic Administration in May, the threats China faces come mainly from the sea, Xinhua reported.

"Since 2012, the most direct maritime security problems have been threats posed by sovereignty disputes over islands," the report said.

China's leadership has realized the significance of a peaceful and stable neighborhood. Therefore, since the beginning of this year, China has advanced its neighborhood diplomacy with several important events.

President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang have visited about a dozen neighboring countries since taking office in March to build mutual trust, expand consensus, deepen cooperation and enhance ties.

Meanwhile, leaders of China's neighboring countries have paid frequent visits to China.

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(China Daily USA 12/26/2013 page3)