BEIJING, Oct. 11 (Xinhua) -- China is self-motivated to maintain peace with neighboring countries surrounding the South China Sea.
Firstly, economic development remains the top priority for China, and a peaceful southeast Asia is important if the world's second-biggest economy is to keep growing. If the South China Sea becomes a flashpoint, China will be distracted from transforming its economic growth model and deepening reform.
Given that China owes its fast development over the past 35 years to a peaceful domestic and international environment, the country would not fly in the face of its successful experience by risking trouble at the doorstep with its neighbors.
China is aware of the importance of peace, as reflected by its restraint in handling disputes with neighboring countries such as Japan and the Philippines.
Secondly, any conflicts in the South China Sea would be a lose-lose situation for all parties involved.
Both China and members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) have shared interests in the region's robust economic activities.
China is now the largest trading partner of the ASEAN, while the association ranks as China's third-largest trading partner. Trade between China and the ASEAN amounted to 400.1 billion U.S. dollars in value last year.
If conflicts escalate in the South China Sea, economic activities will certainly be affected. Neither China nor southeast Asian nations with overlapping claims to territories are not willing to see that happen.
Thirdly, the U.S. backing that has made some countries grow more assertive in territorial disputes with China has actually complicated the South China Sea issue and set back progress for joint development.
The issue should be addressed through consultation and negotiation between parties directly concerned, and without the meddling of a third party which seeks to impose its influence in the region by instigating conflicts.
Given the strong cultural bonds and geographical closeness, China and countries in southeast Asia are capable of working out a peaceful solution eventually.
Before the dispute can be fully resolved, shelving differences and seeking joint development seems to be a pragmatic solution.