FM Wang Yi says China and ASEAN have full capacity, responsibility to maintain peace in South China Sea
KUALA LUMPUR, Oct. 13 — China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi said Tuesday that China and ASEAN have the full capacity, wisdom as well as the responsibility to maintain peace and tranquility in the South China Sea.
Speaking in a joint news conference after a bilateral meeting with Malaysia’s Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein here today, Wang said ASEAN should also work together to “remove external obstruction” in the South China Sea.
He said China and ASEAN should also continue to work for the early conclusion of the Code of Conduct in the South China Sea (CoC).
“We are both in the view that the South China Sea should not be the ground for major power wrestling, teeming with warship.
“China and ASEAN should work together to remove external obstruction and continue to implement the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DoC) and endeavour for the early conclusion of the effective and meaningful CoC,” said Wang, who is on a two-day official visit here.
Meanwhile, Hishammuddin said both Malaysia and China had, during the bilateral meeting, agreed on the importance of maintaining peace and stability in the region.
“Disputes should be addressed through peaceful means, including through regional dialogues and discussions amongst the parties concerned, without resorting to threat or the use of force,” Hishammuddin said.
The territorial disputes in the strategic South China Sea involved four ASEAN countries, namely Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Vietnam, as well as China and Taiwan.
In a joint press statement released later, Hishammuddin and Wang had emphasised the need for sovereign states directly concerned to pursue peaceful resolution of disputes through friendly consultations and negotiations in accordance with the universally recognised principles of international law, including the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.
The statement said both sides underscored the importance of maintaining peace, security and stability, as well as freedom of navigation in and overflight above the South China Sea.
“Both sides further emphasised the need for all parties to exercise self-restraint in the conduct of activities that would complicate or escalate disputes in the South China Sea. Both sides agreed to enhance dialogue on maritime affairs and promote practical maritime cooperation,” it said.
It added that both sides, together with the ASEAN Member States, will work for the full and effective implementation of the 2002 Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC) and encourage maritime cooperation, as well as intensify substantive progress towards the early conclusion of an effective and substantive Code of Conduct (COC).