Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Fu Ying said Sunday that China has consistently attempted to resolve the South China Sea issue through friendly negotiations between sovereign countries directly concerned on the basis of historical facts and universally recognized international law.
Fu made the remarks in an interview with Xinhua on the relations between China and the Association of the Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).
“The South China Sea is not an issue between ASEAN and China, but rather between China and relevant ASEAN countries,” Fu said.
As for relevant issues between China and the Philippines and Vietnam respectively, Fu said China is committed to properly managing and tackling them through friendly consultations and urged “not let these differences affect the larger interest of bilateral relations and China-ASEAN relations as a whole.”Over past few months tensions have escalated between China and the Philippines over the Huangyan Island and also between China and Vietnam over other issues of sovereignty in the South China Sea.
In July, the 45th ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting held in Phnom Penh failed to issue a joint communique.
Fu said the reason why the ministers’ meeting was not able to issue a joint communique was because certain ASEAN members claiming sovereignty of parts of the South China Sea “tried to impose their own positions on this issue onto ASEAN.””Such acts go against the important consensus reached by China and ASEAN countries in the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC),” Fu said, adding that the acts were opposed by most ASEAN countries during the recent meetings.
Certain countries were unable to make compromises which meant eventually ASEAN was not able to issue the Joint Communique, she said.
“This was not a situation the Chinese side had wanted to see,” the Chinese diplomat said.
The DOC signed by China and ASEAN countries a decade ago clearly provides that parties should “resolve their territorial and jurisdictional disputes by peaceful means, … through friendly consultations and negotiations by sovereign states directly concerned,” Fu noted.
“China hopes that all ASEAN countries will join China in working for a comprehensive and effective implementation of the DOC,” she said.
“China is also ready to enter into discussions with ASEAN countries on a code of conduct on the South China Sea when conditions are ripe,” she said.
China’s claims that it has sovereignty over Nansha Islands and their adjacent waters are based on solid and abundant historical and legal basis, Fu said, adding China has advocated shelving disputes and going for common development in the South China Sea pending a final resolution.