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China seeks to join ASEAN in handling South China Sea issue: Premier Li

Updated: Sep 7,2016 9:47 PM     Xinhua

VIENTIANE — Premier Li Keqiang said on Sept 7 that China is willing to work with the ASEAN countries in dispelling interference, and properly handling the South China Sea issue according to the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC) and dual-track approach.

Premier Li made the remarks as he was attending a meeting with leaders of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in the Laotian capital of Vientiane.

With the joint efforts from China and the ASEAN members, the situation in the South China Sea is moving towards a positive direction, and DOC has been proved an effective guideline in the region, he said.

Over the past more than a decade, the DOC principle of having direct talks between concerned parties over their disputes has been significant for China and the ASEAN nations to maintain peace and stability in the South China Sea, said the Premier.

Presently, China is working with the ASEAN nations to formulate a Code of Conduct in the South China Sea (COC).

The Chinese leader said the peace and stability in the South China Sea is highly related to the prosperity and development of countries in the region.

He also noted that history and the facts have repeatedly showed that the South China Sea can only be peaceful and stable so long as the regional countries themselves get hold of the key to fixing the problems.

For their part, the ASEAN leaders appreciate what China has done to promote the COC talks. They also insist on solving the differences over the South China Sea through dialogues so as not to allow these spats overshadow the relations between the two sides.

Also at the meeting, the leaders have adopted the guidelines for an China-ASEAN hotline for maritime emergencies, and approved the application of the Code for Unplanned Encounters at Sea, or CUES, in the South China Sea.