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Wang Yi Talks about the COC Consultation: Countries outside the Region Are not Expected to Meddle in
2017-08-07

On August 7, 2017 local time, Foreign Minister Wang Yi attended the 7th East Asia Summit Foreign Ministers' Meeting held in Manila, the Philippines. In response to the false remarks of some foreign ministers concerning the South China Sea issue, Wang Yi expounded on China's principle and position.

Wang Yi expressed that the situation in the South China Sea this year is different from that of the past. Just as Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan of Singapore, China-ASEAN country coordinator, put it in his remarks that under the concerted efforts of China and the ASEAN countries, the situation in the South China Sea has been stabilizing. Compared to the past year in particular, the positive momentum is quite evident. We should fully acknowledge the remarkable progress we have made and cherish the fruits of our joint efforts. At yesterday's China-ASEAN Foreign Ministers' meeting, all ASEAN countries gave positive comments on the current stable situation in the South China Sea, and agreed on the Code of Conduct in the South China Sea (COC) framework, which represents exactly the mainstream opinions in the region.

Wang Yi noted that China has been approaching the South China Sea issue in a responsible manner. Based on the respect for historical facts, China will follow such international law as Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC) and the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) to peacefully resolve the disputes through direct dialogue and consultation with the countries directly concerned. Currently, related disputes have been back on the right track of dialogue and negotiation. China and the Philippines have rebuilt the bilateral consultation mechanism on the South China Sea, and yielded substantial results in the first consultation, which enhances mutual trust. The second consultation between the two sides is to be convened later within this year. The agreement on the COC framework has also laid a profound foundation for future substantive consultation. We hope that countries outside the region can objectively notice the positive changes taking place in the South China Sea over the past year, and respect the painstaking efforts made by China and the ASEAN countries to this end.

Wang Yi noted that China and the ASEAN countries will continue to earnestly promote the COC consultation under the full implementation of the DOC framework, and formulate a set of regional rules that we all recognize. We have shared aspiration, and the final COC will be an upgraded version of the DOC. What I want to stress is that China and the ASEAN countries are capable and wise enough to reach a COC that can serve to manage divergences and maintain regional peace. We don't expect the intervention of the countries outside the region, or even try to play teaching chess games for us.

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