Senior Officials' Meeting on the Implementation of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea Kicks off in Beijing
On January 14, 2012, the fourth Senior Officials' Meeting on the Implementation of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC) between China and ASEAN was held in Beijing. Senior officials of China and ten ASEAN member countries and officials of the ASEAN Secretariat attended the meeting. Chinese Assistant Foreign Minister Liu Zhenmin and Vietnamese Deputy Foreign Minister Pham Quang Vinh co-chaired the meeting. Participants conducted in-depth and sincere discussions on implementing the DOC and advancing the pragmatic cooperation in the South China Sea and reached wide consensus.
Participants believe the situation in South China Sea in general remains peaceful and stable and appreciate the active efforts of all the related parties. They reviewed the implementation of the DOC and agreed that the year 2011 witnessed major achievements and positive progress of the implementation. China and ASEAN member countries entered into agreement on the guiding principle of implementing the DOC and launched pragmatic cooperation within the framework of the DOC. They appreciate that China set up the China-ASEAN maritime cooperation fund which they believe will accelerate the implementation of the DOC and deepen China-ASEAN maritime cooperation.
They discussed the 2012 working plan of implementing the DOC and agreed upon the future working direction. They believe the specific cooperation projects upon which consensus was reached should be carried out as quickly as possible. China will hold the South China Sea maritime disaster prevention and mitigation workshop and the South China Sea marine ecological environment and surveillance technology workshop this year. ASEAN member countries will hold the maritime search and rescue seminar and the marine ecology and biological diversity seminar.
They agreed to take the favorable opportunity of the 10th anniversary of the DOC this year, make full use of the senior officials' meeting and working group meeting mechanisms, study the establishment of special technical committees on marine scientific research and environmental protection, navigation security and rescue and combating transnational marine crimes, make good use of the China-ASEAN maritime cooperation fund, promote the comprehensive implementation of the DOC and advance pragmatic cooperation in the South China Sea. They consented to jointly hold the seminar on the 10th anniversary of the DOC this year.
The senior officials agreed to hold the fifth senior officials' meeting of the DOC and the eighth joint working group meeting at appropriate time this year.
The DOC is an important political document signed between China and ASEAN member countries in November 2002. It aims at enhancing mutual trust, promoting cooperation and jointly maintaining peace and stability in the South China Sea.