South China Sea not a problem between China, ASEAN

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail Xinhua, January 11, 2017
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China said on Tuesday that the South China Sea issue never has been and will not become a problem between China and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang made the remarks at a regular press briefing.

Philippine Foreign Affairs Undersecretary Enrique Manalo said last Thursday that an arbitration ruling on the South China Sea issue will not be on the agenda of this year's ASEAN summit.

China welcomes the remarks of the Philippine government, which holds the ASEAN rotating presidency this year, said Lu.

The Philippines filed a compulsory arbitration against China at the Hague-based Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) in 2013.

The PCA issued a 479-page award over the South China Sea case in support of the Philippine side on July 12 of last year.

China declared the decision "null and void" and maintained that the tribunal has no jurisdiction over the case, which is in essence about territorial sovereignty and maritime delimitation.

Lu said the South China Sea issue has existed only between China and some ASEAN nations, not between China and ASEAN.

China is committed to resolving disputes over the South China Sea with countries directly concerned through negotiations, and will work with ASEAN countries to safeguard peace and stability in the region, said Lu.

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the founding of ASEAN, he said, noting that China has always attached great importance to ASEAN's role in regional affairs.

China is ready to enhance dialogue with the Philippines and support its work as the ASEAN chair, he said.

China will work with ASEAN nations to focus on development and cooperation, properly deal with sensitive issues, and push for new progress in China-ASEAN ties as well as East Asian cooperation, said Lu.

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