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China seeks resolution to sea issue (2)

By Zhao Shengnan (China Daily)

08:20, August 14, 2012

After the Phnom Penh meeting failed to produce a joint communique on the issue, diplomatic efforts made by Natalegawa eventually pushed the 10 ASEAN countries to release a six-point statement on the South China Sea in line with the DOC.

Malaysian Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Anifah Aman on Sunday urged Southeast Asian countries to settle their overlapping claims in the South China Sea before bringing them up with Beijing, saying both China and ASEAN are genuine in trying to find a peaceful solution to the dispute.

Yang's visit to the three countries will put pressure on Manila and Hanoi to begin to seriously address the DOC and return to talks with Beijing, said Gong Yingchun, an international law expert with China Foreign Affairs University.

"Curiously, the diplomatic blitz does not include stopovers in Hanoi and Manila, which Beijing has accused of challenging its sovereignty over the South China Sea islands," Manila Standard Today newspaper said on Friday.

"China doesn't skip the two countries on purpose or close the door of communication with them. On the contrary, China always remains open to direct talks with them to solve problems," said Zhang Jiuhuan, China's former ambassador to Thailand and Singapore.

"Some countries' provocations have resulted in risks to regional stability, and ASEAN countries would not take sides over the territorial issue but want closer strategic ties with China amid the global economic recession," he said.

A number of bilateral agreements on trade, infrastructure construction, education and culture were signed during Yang's visit.

In other territorial negotiations, China made a breakthrough in 28-year long bilateral boundary talks with Bhutan on Friday, the Foreign Ministry said on Sunday.

China would like to continue cooperation and negotiations with Bhutan to find a fair solution accepted by both sides, Vice-Minister of Foreign Affairs Fu Ying told the 20th round of boundary talks in Bhutan.

The two countries have not yet established diplomatic ties. The boundary talks are based on the Four Guiding Principles agreed to by both sides in the 1998 agreement to maintain peace and tranquility along the border.
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