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Director-General of the Department of Boundary and Ocean Affairs of the Foreign Ministry Yi Xianliang Attends and Addresses Opening Ceremony of South China Sea Session of BFA Annual Conference 2018

2018/04/13

On April 11, 2018, Director-General of the Department of Boundary and Ocean Affairs of the Foreign Ministry Yi Xianliang attended the opening ceremony of the South China Sea Session of the Boao Forum for Asia (BFA) Annual Conference 2018, and delivered a keynote speech entitled Join Hands to Create a Bright Future for Cooperation in the South China Sea.

Yi Xianliang stated that the South China Sea has been an important hub of the Maritime Silk Road since ancient times and played a significant role in boosting the “Belt and Road” cooperation. Regional countries, especially coastal countries in the South China Sea, should become the significant participators and beneficiaries of the “Belt and Road”. Carrying out cooperation among coastal countries in the South China Sea is not only a demand of forging a stable point of regional political security and a growth point for economy and people’s livelihood, but also the responsibility and obligation of the coastal countries vested by international law, which is the best option for regional countries. All historical experience and lessons show that only cooperation can bring the South China Sea stability as well as development and prosperity for coastal countries in the South China Sea and countries along the Maritime Silk Road. Coastal countries in the South China Sea should broaden their minds and actively discuss the construction of open regional cooperation networks, including establishing regional cooperation mechanisms in fishery policy coordination and dealing with such major accidents as marine natural disasters.

Besides, Yi Xianliang gave an example of China’s trade data and pointed out that China was the earliest peaceful user of the channel of the South China Sea and the Indian Ocean, as well as the practitioner, defender and beneficiary of free navigation. Combining with his experience of taking up the post of the Chinese Ambassador to Sri Lanka, Yi Xianliang made responses to such questions as relations between the “Indo-Pacific Strategy” and the “Belt and Road”. He stressed that the “Belt and Road” upholds the concept of openness and inclusiveness, and that China’s solutions will not be imposed on others. It is expected that more international and regional mechanisms can be docked with the “Belt and Road” initiative so as to achieve win-win results.

The theme of this South China Sea Session is the “21st Century Maritime Silk Road and Economic Cooperation of the Greater South China Sea”. Nearly 100 former government officials and well-known scholars from more than 10 countries and regions in and outside the region attended the session.

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