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Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hong Lei's Remarks on ASEAN Foreign Ministers' Statement on the Six-Point Principles on the South China Sea Issue

Q: How does China see ASEAN foreign ministers' statement on the six-point principles on the South China Sea issue?

A: China noticed ASEAN's statement on the South China Sea issue. The core of the South China Sea issue is disputes between relevant countries concerning the sovereignty over the Nansha Islands and demarcation of their adjacent waters. China has ample historical and legal basis for its sovereignty over the Nansha Islands and their adjacent waters.

China is ready to work with ASEAN countries to fully and effectively implement the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea(DOC) in a bid to jointly uphold peace and stability in the South China Sea. China is open to discussions with ASEAN countries on working out a Code of Conduct in the South China Sea (COC). We hope all parties can abide strictly by the DOC so as to create necessary conditions and atmosphere for the discussion of the COC.

As a signatory to the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea(UNCLOS), China attaches great importance to upholding the principles and purposes of the UNCLOS. The Convention makes it clear right at the beginning that it aims at "establishing a legal order for the seas and oceans with due regard for sovereignty of all states". The Convention is not an international treaty to regulate disputes of territorial sovereignty between states, nor can it serve as the basis to arbitrate such disputes. Countries concerned should settle the demarcation disputes in the South China Sea on the basis of solving disputes of territorial sovereignty over the Nansha Islands, in accordance with historical facts and International Law including the UNCLOS.

Giving high priority to its relations with ASEAN, China is committed to promoting good-neighbourly friendship and mutually beneficial cooperation with ASEAN and jointly advancing the process of East Asian cooperation. As the underlying impact of the international financial crisis continues to unfold, China and ASEAN share common interests in and responsibilities for safeguarding regional peace and stability and maintaining the development momentum in Asia. The two sides should continue to view and handle their relations from a strategic and long-term perspective, strengthen strategic communication and achieve mutual benefit and win-win progress in the spirit of mutual respect and trust.

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