China, ASEAN have will, ability to safeguard peace,stability in South China Sea

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China and ASEAN countries have the will, ability and means to safeguard peace and stability in the South China Sea, Vice Foreign Minister Liu Zhenmin said here on Thursday.

Liu made the remarks at a press conference of the 22nd China-ASEAN Senior Officials' Consultation, an important annual meeting for diplomats from China and 10 ASEAN nations.

Liu and senior diplomats from ASEAN countries exchanged in-depth views on implementation of the Declaration on the Conduct of the Parties in the South China Sea (DOC), promote cooperation and enhance consultations on the Code of Conduct in the South China Sea (COC) under the framework of the DOC.

China and ASEAN countries' common interests have far outweighed the differences no matter on regional cooperation or on South China Sea, the vice foreign minister said.

He noted as the current situation of the South China Sea has drawn lots of attention, he and his ASEAN counterparts have exchange views on how to control differences, strengthen maritime pragmatic cooperation as well as enhance consultation on COC.

"There is consensus at yesterday's meeting that under the current situation, DOC remains the common basis which China and ASEAN countries jointly uphold to maintain peace and stability in the South China Sea." said Liu.

Liu stressed that it's necessary to ensure full and effective implementation of the DOC, deepen practical maritime cooperation and enhance mutual trust, adding "deviation from the DOC will lead to negative consequences."

He revealed that China has come up with a proposal that foreign ministers of China and ASEAN nations issue a joint statement on full and effective implementation of the DOC in July.

Liu said that China has put forward a draft statement, the main elements of which include confirming the parties' commitment to the DOC, underlining the status and role of the DOC, reaffirming the parties' recognition of the main principles and spirit of the DOC, maintaining peace and stability, upholding freedom of navigation and overflight in the South China Sea, insisting that disputes should be solved through negotiations between the parties directly concerned.

The 22nd China-ASEAN Senior Officials' Consultation, held here from Wednesday to Thursday, is the first meeting organized by Singapore since it replaced Thailand to become the coordinator for China-ASEAN relations.

The two-day meeting also focused on advancing China-ASEAN relations and regional cooperation in East Asia and preparing for a commemorative summit on the 25th anniversary of the establishment of China-ASEAN dialogue relations in September.

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