BEIJING, Sept. 4 (Xinhua) -- China urged the United States on Tuesday to make greater efforts to maintain peace and stability in the South China Sea ahead of U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's two day-visit to Beijing.
"We have taken note of the U.S. side's refusal to take a position on the South China Sea issue," Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said at a regular news briefing.
"We hope the U.S. side will keep its commitment and make efforts that help, rather than harm, regional peace and stability," Hong said.
Clinton said Monday in Jakarta that it is now time to create a code of conduct for the South China Sea.
"It is time for diplomacy," she said. "We have the East Asia Summit coming up. This should be the goal that diplomacy pursues: to try to attain agreement on a robust code of conduct, to begin to try to literally calm the waters and enable people to work together toward better outcomes."
Hong said the South China Sea issue is complicated and different countries have different understandings, concerns and interests regarding the issue.
"For China, the issue is about the country's sovereignty over the Nansha Islands and its interests in waters near the South China Sea," Hong said, adding that "China, like all other countries in the world, has an obligation to safeguard its sovereignty and territorial integrity."
"China holds that all the parties concerned should effectively implement and abide by the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC) and enhance cooperation and mutual trust to maintain peace and stability in the South China Sea, rather than take any action that could complicate and escalate the situation," Hong said.
Hong said all the parties concerned should work together through consultations to create a code of conduct on the condition that the DOC will still be implemented.
"We hope that parties concerned will support the consensus between China and ASEAN members and make efforts that will boost mutual trust and stability in the region," he added.
In 2002, China and the Association of the Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) countries signed the DOC, which states that sovereign states should resolve territorial and jurisdictional disputes by peaceful means and through friendly consultations and negotiations.
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