Li Keqiang Expounds on China's Principled Stance on South China Sea Issue at East Asia Summit

2015/11/22

On the morning of November 22 local time, Premier Li Keqiang expounded on China's principled stance on the South China Sea issue at the tenth East Asia Summit.

Li Keqiang said that China is committed to the "dual-track approach" in resolving the South China Sea issue, namely, sovereign states directly concerned in the issue resolve relevant disputes in the South China Sea through negotiations and consultations, and China and the ASEAN countries jointly safeguard peace and stability of the South China Sea. With the joint efforts of China and the ASEAN countries over the years, the South China Sea has generally maintained peace and stability without interference or intervention of external forces. We are comprehensively and effectively implementing the "Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea", conducting practical cooperation and actively promoting negotiations on the "codes of conduct in the South China Sea", and have made important progress. This is hard-won and should be cherished by all.

Li Keqiang pointed out that China has always been actively advocating and firmly upholding the freedom of navigation and flying over in the South China Sea. China is a major trading country in the world, and the South China Sea is an important international waterway. An unstable situation in the South China Sea will first harm countries in the region including China and bring no benefits to other countries. The freedom of navigation and flying over in the South China Sea has never been a problem. Countries in the region are willing and able to continue safeguarding it properly. China's construction work on its own islands and reefs is legitimate and legal. It is not targeted at nor will affect any country; instead, it conduces to safeguarding the freedom of navigation and responding to maritime disasters. It is far from "militarization". When exercising the freedom of navigation and flying over, countries involved should fully respect the sovereignty and security of the coastal countries in the region.

Li Keqiang stressed that China will continue to adhere to peacefully solving disputes through negotiations and consultations, controlling differences by rules and mechanisms and realizing mutual benefits and win-win results through cooperation and joint development. China is willing to work with countries in the region to forge the South China Sea into a sea of peace, friendship and cooperation.