Capable of safeguarding peace in South China Sea: Wang to Kerry

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  1. kseeker

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    BEIJING: Faced with a US warning against unilateral actions in its maritime disputes, China has described the situation in the South China Sea as "stable" and said it was capable of working with ASEAN to safeguard regional peace.

    The overall situation in the South China Sea is stable and China is capable and confident of working with members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to safeguard peace, Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi told US secretary of state John Kerry.

    Elaborating on China's stand on the maritime dispute, Wang said during their meeting here yesterday that the freedom and safety of navigation in the South China Sea "was, is and will always be unquestionable".

    All countries enjoy the lawful right to free navigation in the South China Sea, he said.

    Kerry yesterday warned China against "unilateral" actions in its maritime territorial disputes with Japan and the Philippines during candid talks with President Xi Jinping, saying such provocation could threaten regional stability.

    "We've made it very clear that a unilateral, unannounced, unprocessed initiative like that can be very challenging to certain people in the region, and therefore to regional stability," Kerry said after meetings with Xi and Premier Li Keqiang.

    ASEAN members the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia and Brunei strongly contest China's claim over 80 per cent of the South China Sea.

    Wang said China and ASEAN countries have implemented the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC) and strengthened maritime cooperation. Negotiations on the South China Sea code of conduct (COC) are moving forward smoothly, he was quoted as saying by state-run Xinhua news agency.

    China has sufficient historical and legal evidence for its sovereignty over Nansha islands and adjacent waters, Wang said.

    The disputes in the South China Sea were caused by "illegal occupation of islands belonging to China" by some countries since the 1970s, he contended.

    "Even so, China has always been committed to solving disputes through negotiating directly with countries involved and in a peaceful manner," Wang said.

    Recent "unfounded and untrue rumours" had magnified disputes and artificially upped tensions in the region, he said. "This is unacceptable," Wang added.

    Capable of safeguarding peace in South China Sea: Wang to Kerry - The Times of India
     
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