Thursday, September 06, 2012

China assures freedom, safety of navigation in South China Sea

Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi on Wednesday assured visiting United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton that sailors from various countries will enjoy freedom and safety of navigation in the South China Sea.

“I would like to add that the freedom and safety of navigation in the South China Sea is assured. For China and our neighboring countries the South China Sea (has) really (been) a lifetime (means) for exchanges, trades, and commerce,” he said after his meeting with Clinton in China.

“There is no issue currently in this area nor (will there be) an issue in the area in the near future,” he added.

At the joint conference in Beijing (shown in this video,) Yang also supported various calls for an agreement on an enforceable Code of Conduct in these waters where islets and various formations are subject of claims and dispute.

However, the Chinese foreign minister reiterated the Chinese position over the formations in the South China Sea.

“The position of the Chinese government has been consistent and clear cut. China has sovereignty over the islands in the South China Sea and the adjacent waters. There is plenty of historical and jurisprudential evidence on this,” he said.

He also repeated the Chinese position on the form of dispute settlement for different claims: that this be resolved bilaterally.

“The overlapping rights and interests of claims over some waters of the South China Sea should be discussed by directly concerned countries on the basis for historical facts and international law and handled and settled for direct negotiation and a friendly consultation,” he said.

Yang said the “principles and spirit” expressed in the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea, also known as the DOC, between China and the ASEAN must be respected.

“Recently I have visited several southeast Asian countries that are also member states of ASEAN. Like China, these countries also believe that the parties concerned should act in accordance with the principles and spirit of the DOC and on the basis of the consensus, work towards the eventual adoption of a Code of Conduct in the South China Sea,” he said.

On the United States’ role in the region, Yang said China and the US “share more convergent interests and interact more frequently” now and are expected to deal with each other in more practical ways.

“At the moment the international situation continues to undergo profound and complex changes and the prospect of the world economic recovery is still quite great. We hope that China and the US will work together to develop a positive and pragmatic relationship that is also the shared expectation of the peoples in the Asia-Pacific region,” he said, expressing hope for a “win-win progress” in the region.

“As for the US policy towards the Asia-Pacific region, we have always hoped that the US would size up the situation and would make sure that its policy is in conformity with the stance of our current era and the general wish of countries in the region to seek peace, development, and cooperation,” he said.

China is in dispute with Taiwan, Japan, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei, and the Philippines over some islets and other formations in the South China Sea and the East China Sea. -Interaksyon (September 05, 2012 6:07PM)

No comments: