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China committed to resolving maritime disputes through negotiations: diplomat

(Xinhua)    20:41, April 18, 2016

ADDIS ABABA, April 18 -- Although it is China's firm position that its sovereignty and territorial integrity brook no violation, China remains willing to address and resolve the emerging maritime disputes through consultations and negotiations, Chinese Ambassador to Ethiopia La Yifan has reiterated.

In a recent interview with Xinhua, the ambassador said that the freedom of navigation and over-flight in the South China Sea has never been an issue.

Due to a number of reasons, the South China Sea dispute has become a more complicated and more widely-talked-about issue in recent years, he said.

Unwarranted accusations over the namely freedom of navigation and over-flight in the South China Sea and China's construction activities on its own islands are among the reasons for the dispute, according to the ambassador.

He expressed China's commitment to addressing and resolving the emerging maritime disputes through consultations and negotiations.

He also recalled that China and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) established a dialogue mechanism in the 1990s to enhance mutual trust, reduce misgivings and deepen cooperation.

In 2002, China and ten ASEAN member countries signed a Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC), he said, adding that the parties to the DOC undertook to jointly maintain peace and stability in the South China Sea and resolve their disputes through consultations and negotiations by sovereign states directly concerned.

As the largest country bordering the South China Sea, China hopes, more than any other country, to uphold the freedom of navigation in the South China Sea, China's lifeline for maritime shipping and transport.

Stating that China was not the first country that conducted the construction activities and deployed military installation on the Nansha Islands, the ambassador said China's construction of civil and public facilities on the Nansha islands and reefs is aimed at offering public services to the international community.

China has deployed a limited amount of necessary military facilities on relevant islands and reefs for defense purpose only, said the ambassador, underlining the need for other countries to respect the sovereignty and security of the littoral countries while exercising their important right of navigation and over-flight.

Some countries have continued to encroach upon China's sovereignty and interests in the South China Sea despite China's willingness to working with South China Sea littoral countries, noted La.

He has stated that Chinese ancestors lived and worked on the South China Sea islands for generations.

"More than anyone else," the ambassador said, "Chinese descendants want to uphold peace, stability and freedom of navigation in the South China Sea."

"The Chinese government will also continue to adhere to peacefully solving disputes through negotiations and consultations, controlling differences by rules and mechanisms and realizing mutual benefits and win-win results through cooperation and joint development among the relevant parties," noted the ambassador.

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Editor:Yuan Can,Bianji)

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