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Xinhua Voice: South China Sea disputes should not overshadow regional cooperation

English.news.cn   2014-01-24 12:41:11

by Xu Ke

BEIJING, Jan. 24 (Xinhua) -- Regional cooperation always remains the mainstream of bilateral ties between China and the Southeast Asian countries despite their territorial disputes in the South China Sea.

As leaders of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) gather on Friday at a session of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, the South China Sea issue is likely to be one of several issues to be talked about.

The leaders can make use of the forum to discuss how to further enhance regional cooperation, peace and prosperity.

For decades, the South China Sea issue has been lingering over, but maritime disputes will not necessarily lead to confrontation in the region.

Over the years, instead of skirmishing with each other for territorial gains, China and ASEAN countries have enjoyed rapid economic growth and smooth development of bilateral ties, and maintained a rather stable regional situation.

That's because they share tremendous common interests despite limited territorial differences.

China is now the largest trading partner of the ASEAN countries, while the regional bloc has grown to become China's third biggest trading partner, after the European Union and the United States.

To further expand their trade interactions, the two sides have established a free trade area in 2010, one of the largest among all developing countries.

Moreover, China's new leadership has attached great importance to developing ties with the ASEAN members, viewing it a key part of Beijing's foreign policy priority.

By shelving their differences and focusing on common development, it will buy time for all relevant parties to figure out effective and lasting solutions to their disputes.

The joint development of gas and oil resources in regional waters could be one of the workable ways in which those in the region deal with their disputes before the arrival of a final settlement.

Meanwhile, it will be appreciated if external players stop meddling in the regional maritime rows and avoid sending wrong signals that would encourage some regional countries to take reckless actions.

Rome was not built in a day. The complicated territorial disputes cannot be settled right away.

What the Asian countries should do at the moment is to commit themselves to seeking a peaceful settlement of sea-related issues through friendly consultations, and joining hands to push further forward their cooperation.

Related:

China calls for full implementation of DOC

BEIJING, Jan. 21 (Xinhua) -- China on Tuesday urged all parties to comprehensively implement the declaration on the conduct of parties in the South China Sea (DOC).

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said at a regular press briefing that China has indisputable sovereignty over the South China Sea islands and adjacent waters and has always advocated addressing the disputes through direct discussion with the countries involved.  Full story

S. China Sea rules no threat to peace, experts say

BEIJING, Jan. 15 (Xinhuanet) -- China's amendments to its fishing rules aim to enhance management of its administrative waters in the South China Sea, and will not hamper freedom of navigation or regional security, observers said.

"The concepts of the South China Sea — international waters and waters under Chinese jurisdiction vary in terms of their implications," said Wu Shicun, president of the National Institute for South China Sea Studies.  Full story

Editor: Yang Lina
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