China honors Sea commitments: spokesman

08:37, June 24, 2011      

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China attaches great importance to the positive role that the Declaration on the Code of Conduct on the South China Sea plays and strictly abides by it, a Foreign Ministry spokesman said.

Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said at a news briefing on Thursday that China pays great attention to the role that the declaration plays in safeguarding regional security and enhancing mutual trust between China and Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

Since the signing of the declaration in 2002, China has been actively promoting its implementation, he said.

He added that two high-level official meetings between China and ASEAN have been organized and a joint-working team was also created, being responsible for planning detailed cooperation.

"The unified working team has ensured that tasks including ocean research, ocean environment protection and navigation security will be prioritized," he said.

"The team has also reached a consensus on six cooperation proposals including ocean rescue, and disaster prevention and mitigation in the South China Sea."

The United States and Japan on Tuesday called on China to deal with the South China Sea issue in a "responsible and constructive manner", saying that Japan and the US should cooperate with nations in the region.

Hong reiterated China's peaceful development principle, saying that China conducts a "defensive national policy".

"China is dedicated to developing friendly and cooperative relationships with every country across the world, especially neighboring countries," he added.

The US-Japan alliance should not get involved in the current complicated stalemate in South China Sea disputes, said Niu Jun, a professor of international politics at Peking University.

"Japan and the US are geographically not in the region, and they should first explain to countries in the region why they are intervening in a regional issue, " Niu said.

"In the current stalemate in South China Sea disputes, in which countries diverge on fundamental facts, what we should do is sit down and talk, rather than provoke the situation," he added.

Commenting on the recent "disconcerting trends" in the South China Sea, Chinese Vice-Foreign Minister Cui Tiankai said China has no intention of getting into military conflicts with other countries, including Vietnam.

"We are now doing our best to maintain stability, to bring this problem back to dialogue and consultation between the countries concerned," he said ahead of a meeting with US officials in Hawaii this weekend.

"We are troubled by some recent events in the South China Sea, but we were not the party who provoked these incidents," he said.

He also said that the US "is not a claimant state to the dispute in the South China Sea and so it's better for the US to leave the dispute to be sorted out between claimant states".

"If the US wants to play a role, it may counsel restraint to those countries that have been taking provocative action and ask them to be more responsible in their behavior," he added.

"If the US takes the same attitude, such military conflicts are even more unlikely."

Cui will co-host this weekend's consultations with US Assistant Secretary of State Kurt Campbell.

As China and the US share common interests in the Asia-Pacific region, it is necessary for the two to establish a specialized channel to discuss Asia-Pacific issues and exchange views on regional situation and policies, Hong said at the briefing.

The consultations will not only benefit China-US relations, but will also promote peace, stability and development throughout the entire Asia-Pacific region, he added.

Vietnam's naval delegation wrapped up its four-day visit to the coastal city of Zhanjiang in southern China's Guangdong province on Thursday.

Earlier this week, the delegation conducted a two-day joint patrol in the Beibu Bay with the Chinese navy on Sunday and Monday, according to a statement posted on the website of China's Ministry of National Defense.

The joint naval patrol and the port call, as part of an exchange plan, is a friendly exchange between the two armed forces, said the statement.

The joint patrol was the 11th since 2005 between the two countries. And the port call was the second by Vietnamese ships to China since 2009.

Xinhua and Reuters contributed to this story.

Source: China Daily
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