ASEAN, China set for South China Sea code talks

15 November, 2017, 01:56 | Author: Irene Delgado
  • Quadrilateral meet that includes India should not hurt us says China

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang attends the ASEAN-China Summit in Manila, Philippines, Nov. 13, 2017.

U.S. President Donald Trump arrives for a special gala celebration dinner for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in Manila.

"Li said China is the largest country in the South China Sea and a major nation that uses the lanes in the sea, thus China shows more interest in safeguarding peace, stability, and navigation freedom in the South China Sea than any other country in the world", Xinhua said.

The Philippines, the head of ASEAN's rotational chairmanship, said member states of the 10-nation bloc have to consult each other but thanked Mr Trump for the offer.

Li made no mention of the South China Sea dispute, but said China was "committed to working with ASEAN to be good neighbors, good friends, and good partners and always stand together with ASEAN, rain or shine".

"Of course, the claimant countries have to answer as a group or individually, and not one country can just give an instant reply because mediation involves all of the claimants and non-claimants", he pointed out.

China claims almost all of South China Sea, while Brunei, Malaysia, Vietnam and the Philippines also claim parts of the strategic waters.

The agreement came at a meeting between Chinese President Xi Jinping and Vietnamese Communist Party chief Nguyen Phu Trong in Hanoi.

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"He acknowledged that war can not be promoted by anybody, (that) it would only mean destruction for all of us", Duterte told reporters after flying back to Manila.

"The visit marks a new step forward in Vietnam-China relations", he said.

"If you go to the negotiating table and you start with the statement that I am here to claim validity of our ownership, you're wasting your time".

President Rodrigo Duterte, this year's chairperson of Asean, was confident that the Southeast Asian leaders' meeting with China would pave the way for a "strategic parternship" between them.

Asean and China also highlighted the role of witnesses in identifying and prosecuting corruptors and said they would develop "an effective protection system for witnesses in corruption cases, where appropriate".

Lorenzana said the rift over the tiny sandbar near the Philippine-occupied Thitu island in the Spratlys archipelago remains unresolved but both sides pledged not to occupy any new territory. So we welcome that offer, let's see how everyone's response.

"We have to be able to separate, to expect these sovereignty claims".

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