Premier Wen Jiabao Elaborates China's Position on South China Sea
On November 19, 2011, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao elaborated China's position on the South China Sea at the 6th East Asia Summit in Bali, Indonesia.
Wen said the East Asia summit was not the right forum to discuss the South China Sea issue. "I don't want to discuss this issue at the summit, however, leaders of some countries mentioned China on the issue. It's impolite not to make a return for what one receives. So, I am willing to reiterate China's position," he said.
Wen said China's position on the issue was "clear and consistent". China and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) countries signed the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC) in 2002, decided to promote pragmatic cooperation and work for a code of conduct. "This is a common will of both China and ASEAN countries," he said. A resolution among directly related countries through friendly negotiation and consultation in a peaceful way was a consensus reached in the DOC, Wen said. "We hope relevant parties would take into concern the overall situation of regional peace and stability, and do something more conducive to mutual trust and cooperation," he said.
He stressed the economic development of east Asia and southeast Asia proved navigation freedom and security in the South China Sea were not affected by the countries' disputes. Navigation freedom granted by international laws in this area had been fully guaranteed. "The South China Sea is an important transportation passageway for China, regional countries and even the world. The Chinese government has made a positive contribution to safeguard the navigation security in the South China Sea," the premier said.
Wen said with the joint efforts, east Asia has maintained peace and stability for many years. It is the trend of the times and people's common will to maintain the long-term peace and stability in east Asia. Countries in this region also have the wisdom and capability to appropriately resolve issues left over from history, Wen said.
He said it was necessary to maintain the East Asia Summit as a leaders-led strategic forum, and its theme of solidarity, development and cooperation. "We cannot diverge from this direction," the premier said.