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People's Daily Online>>Foreign Affairs

China seeks framework to resolve sea disputes

(China Daily)

08:28, November 16, 2011

BEIJING - China has long sought a regional code of conduct for the South China Sea, which some Southeast Asian nations are calling for, to help properly settle territorial disputes there, a senior Chinese diplomat said on Tuesday.

Assistant Foreign Minister Liu Zhenmin made the remarks at a briefing about Premier Wen Jiabao's attendance at the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and East Asia summits on the Indonesian island of Bali later this week.

"China and ASEAN countries set enacting a code of conduct (COC) as a goal in the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC) signed in 2002," Liu said.

The DOC is a set of non-binding rules, while Vietnam and the Philippines have been actively promoting a legally binding COC.

"Enacting a COC is part of the process to implement the DOC. China is willing to actively push forward the implementation of the DOC with ASEAN nations," Liu said.

But Liu added that Beijing hoped the issue would not be discussed at the two-day East Asia Summit.

The Philippines said this week it was looking to form a united front on the South China Sea issue among ASEAN members meeting on Bali.

Philippine Foreign Affairs Undersecretary for Policy Erlinda Basilio said her country would raise its proposal at every opportunity at the summits.

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