MANILA – China has proposed a three-step vision to step up consultations on the Code of Conduct (COC) in the South China Sea, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said here Sunday after he and his counterparts from ASEAN nations approved the framework of the COC.
All sides fully acknowledged the positive momentum that the improving situation in the South China Sea is demonstrating and expressed their approval of the framework of the COC which they believe laid a sound foundation for the substantive consultations, Wang told reporters after the China-ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting.
The ministers spoke highly of the achieved early harvests, including the establishment of hotline communications among senior officials of the ministries of foreign affairs of China and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) member states in response to maritime emergencies, he said.
All the afore-mentioned achievements testify to the fact that China and ASEAN have the wisdom and capability to properly manage the disputes, formulate a set of regional rules that we all recognize, and preserve peace and stability in the South China Sea, according to the Chinese foreign minister.
“We also hope that the two wheels of the COC consultations and maritime practical cooperation could run in parallel and reinforce each other,” he said.
China has proposed a three-step vision to step up consultations on the COC, Wang said.
First, foreign ministers of China and ASEAN recognize the COC framework and with all necessary preparatory work done, announce the initiation of the substantive consultations at a proper time within this year.
Second, how the COC consultations will be approached and sustained while upholding what principles shall be discussed at the Joint Working Group Meeting on the Implementation of the Declaration of Code of Conduct (DOC) at the end of August.
Third, with preparations basically ready and on the condition that there is no major outside interference and the South China Sea situation is generally stable, leaders of China and ASEAN member states will officially announce the start of the next step to negotiate on the text of the COC at the China-ASEAN Leaders’ Summit in November.
The three-step vision has got warm response and support from ASEAN, which once again showcase the shared aspiration and firm conviction of China and ASEAN member states to properly resolve disputes through dialogue and consultation and maintain peace and stability in the South China Sea, Wang said. (Xinhua)
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