China to firmly safeguard South China Sea: Premier

By Zhang Yue in Manila | | Updated: 2017-11-14 20:36

Premier Li Keqiang said on Tuesday that China will firmly safeguard freedom of navigation and overflight in the South China Sea.

He said China, as the largest country in the South China Sea and a major user of its sea lanes, wants peace and stability for the region more than any other country.

Li made the remarks when attending the 12th East Asia Summit in Manila, the Philippines on Tuesday afternoon.

The situation in the South China Sea has been cooling down thanks to joint efforts by China and the ASEAN nations, Li said.

Noting that China and the ASEAN announced the commencement of the next step consultation on the text of the Code of Conduct in the South China Sea on Monday, Li said this shows willingness from both China and ASEAN countries to properly handle differences through consultation and to maintain peace and stability for the South China Sea.

He said the regional countries have the confidence, wisdom and capability of properly handling the South China Sea issue and will turn the area into a sea of stability, friendship and cooperation.

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