Beijing eyes stability of region in Jakarta talks

By ZHANG YUNBI (Chinadaily.com.cn) 08:48, July 14, 2023

Wang Yi, director of the Office of the Foreign Affairs Commission of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, attends the annual ASEAN-Plus Foreign Ministers' Meetings in Jakarta, Indonesia. [Photo/Xinhua]

Talks: Beijing-Moscow support affirmed

Securing stability in the East Asia region and ruling out disturbance from some countries outside the region were high on the agenda of a slew of bilateral and multilateral meetings attended by senior Chinese diplomat Wang Yi on Thursday.

Wang, director of the Office of the Foreign Affairs Commission of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, is in Jakarta, Indonesia, to attend the annual ASEAN-Plus Foreign Ministers' Meetings — a series of meetings involving the 10 members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations plus countries including China, the United States, Japan and Russia.

On the sidelines, Wang also held bilateral talks with senior diplomats from countries including the US and Russia on Thursday.

Wang's talk with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken was their second meeting within a month. The two also met on June 19 during Blinken's visit to China.

Wang stressed the importance of taking tangible steps to put China-US ties back on track. He said the US needs to translate into reality the series of commitments made by President Joe Biden, work toward the same goal with China, advance consultation on the guiding principles for their ties, and expand communication channels on foreign affairs and security.

Wang also stated China's solemn position on the Taiwan question and asked the US to stop suppressing China in the areas of economy, trade and technology.

The two sides also discussed conducting consultations on Asia-Pacific and maritime affairs, believed that their meeting was candid, pragmatic and constructive, and agreed to continue to communicate.

Wu Shicun, chairman of the Huayang Research Center for Maritime Cooperation and Ocean Governance and founding president of the National Institute for South China Sea Studies, highlighted the urgency for Beijing and Washington to eliminate mistrust through talks.

"At present, taking effective measures to keep China-US ties relatively stable and prevent potential conflicts or crises from escalating is not only in line with the interests of both nations, but also serves the common expectation of the entire international community," he said.

In a meeting between Wang and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, both sides voiced further support for ASEAN's central role in the region's cooperation architecture.

Wang noted that amid world changes unseen in a century, China and Russia "firmly support each other in safeguarding their own legitimate interests and adhere to the path of harmonious coexistence and development featuring win-win cooperation".

In the future, the two nations should follow the important consensus of their heads of state, maintain high-level exchanges, strengthen strategic communication and coordination, honor their responsibilities as major countries, safeguard their respective national interests and dignity, and safeguard international fairness and justice, Wang said.

Lavrov said that Russia is willing to work with China to further implement the important consensus reached between their heads of state, strengthen strategic cooperation, deepen cooperation in various fields, promote the world's multipolarization process and oppose hegemony of any kind.

Also on Thursday, Wang attended the ASEAN-China Foreign Ministers' Meeting.

China and ASEAN are currently each other's largest trade partner. When attending the meeting, Wang estimated that their annual bilateral trade is expected to exceed $1 trillion this year.

When reviewing the landmark transportation projects achieved by China and ASEAN countries within the framework of the Belt and Road Initiative, he said that over 2 billion people have received tangible benefits.

Wang also said that China welcomes the successful completion of the second reading of the draft for the expected Code of Conduct in the South China Sea, adding that it supports all parties to accelerate formulating a guideline document for the COC and is ready to continue playing a constructive role in reaching the COC.

Chen Xiangmiao, an associate research fellow at the National Institute for South China Sea Studies, said that "maintaining regional peace and stability remains the basic consensus among ASEAN member states on the South China Sea issue".

"Although some ASEAN members have structural conflicts of interest with China in the South China Sea, they still manage differences and enhance mutual trust through consultations on the COC and bilateral mechanisms for consultation," Chen said.

Wang also attended the ASEAN Plus Three Foreign Ministers' Meeting, which gathered the 10 ASEAN members plus China, Japan and the Republic of Korea.

(Web editor: Zhong Wenxing, Liang Jun)


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