Channels of communication smooth for South China Sea issue: Chinese DM

09:01, June 06, 2011      

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The channels of consultations and negotiations over the South China Sea issue have been smooth between China and other related countries, Chinese Defense Minister Liang Guanglie said on Sunday.

Speaking at the Shangri-La Dialogue here in Singapore, Liang said that China is committed to safeguarding peace and stability in the South China Sea.

The overall security situation in the region remained stable, and the momentum of dialogue and consultation remained strong between China and the members of the Southeast Asian Nations ( ASEAN) on implementing the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea, he said.

In the declaration signed in 2002, China and the ASEAN members agreed on the principle of resolving the territorial and maritime right disputes through bilateral friendly consultations and negotiations between the sovereign states directly involved. They also committed to respecting the rights that countries should enjoy under the principles of international law to navigate or fly over the waters.

Liang delivered a keynote speech at the Shangri-La Dialogue here in Singapore on Sunday, setting out a number of principles for advancing international security cooperation.

He said China will hold steadfast to its pursuit of peace and development, the defensive nature of its defense policies, as well as the pursuit of good relations with its neighbors and other countries.

It is also dedicated to safeguarding peace and stability in its surroundings through security cooperation, promoting mutual trust and mutual benefits, as well as meeting its international obligations and shouldering its international responsibilities, he said.

Responding to a question, Liang said China shared challenges in cyber security with the international community as it faced threats including cyber attacks, too.

China is willing to work with other countries to address such challenges, he said.

Liang said that China upholds the principle of developing its defense capabilities to serve its economic development, and that China has been way behind the developed countries despite the progress it has made.

Liang reiterated that China shall pose no threat to any countries in developing its defense capabilities.

"As I said, China did not, and does not, seek hegemony, and it shall not, even when it is developed," he said.

Liang also met with defense leaders from about a dozen other countries on the sidelines of the 10th Asia Security Summit held by the London-based think tank International Institute for Strategic Studies, a multilateral regional security summit also known as the Shangri-La Dialogue.

It was the first time a Chinese defense minister joined the dialogue.

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