|Wang Yi: Create a Sound Environment and Eliminate Various Distractions to Steadily Advance Negotiations on COC|
On June 12, 2017, when jointly meeting the press with Foreign Minister of Singapore, Foreign Minister Wang Yi expressed that not long ago, China and ASEAN countries successfully reached an agreement on the framework of the Code of Conduct in the South China Sea (COC) in advance. An important experience gained from it was to create a sound environment and eliminate various distractions from various aspects, which are the significant preconditions of the smooth advancement of negotiations on the COC.
Wang Yi noted that last July, Foreign Ministers of China and various ASEAN countries issued a joint statement, in which they agreed that specific controversies on the islands and reefs of Nansha Islands should return to the track of resolving disputes through dialogues and consultations between parties directly concerned. Hereafter, China-Philippines relations achieved an overall turnabout. The Philippines agreed to re-establish the bilateral negotiation mechanism on the South China Sea issue with China. Under joint efforts of China and relevant parties, the situation in the South China Sea is stabilizing. These all provided necessary condition for negotiations on the COC. Wang Yi said that conducting negotiation and forming the COC are stipulations in the Declaration on the Conduct of the Parties in the South China Sea as well as a commitment made by China and ten ASEAN countries. China and ASEAN countries are fully capable to work out regional rules to safeguard peace and stability in the South China Sea on their own. As long as China and ASEAN countries could continuously enhance mutual trust, deepen cooperation, and eliminate disturbances that may come from the region, especially from the outside, the substantive negotiation on the COC could be timely carried out after a period of necessary preparation.