|Wang Yi Attends and Addresses the Opening Ceremony of the Symposium Commemorating the 20th Anniversary of the Signing of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea|
On July 25, 2022, State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi attended and addressed the opening ceremony of the symposium commemorating the 20th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea via video link.
Wang Yi said, the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC) is the first political document signed by China and ASEAN countries on the South China Sea issue, which establishes the basic principles and common norms for all parties to handle the South China Sea issue. Over the past 20 years, we have abided by the stipulation of the DOC and worked together to maintain peace and stability as well as freedom and safety of navigation in the South China Sea. Through the DOC platform, we have actively carried out maritime dialogue and cooperation, and achieved "early harvest" in many areas. With the help of the DOC framework, we have consolidated the political mutual trust between China and ASEAN and promoted the vigorous development of China-ASEAN relations.
Wang Yi said, the signing and successful implementation of the DOC has brought us a series of important inspirations. First, peace and stability in the South China Sea are important prerequisites for regional development. Countries in the region benefit from stability and suffer from chaos in the South China Sea. Second, countries in the region are the real masters of properly handling the South China Sea issue. China and ASEAN countries creatively put forward and promoted the "dual-track" approach, which has not only effectively controlled the maritime situation and maintained the overall stability of the South China Sea, but also provided a sound foundation for joint protection, development and utilization of the South China Sea. Third, the East Asian model is an effective way to build and maintain consensus. China and ASEAN countries have always followed the Asian tradition of mutual respect and honoring promises. We reject the zero-sum mentality that one gains at the expense of the other and promote the positive sum concept of win-win cooperation. This demonstrates the precious value and strong vitality of the DOC.
Wang Yi said that as the world enters a new period of turbulence and change, peace and stability are not ensured in the South China Sea. To maintain its own hegemony, a certain non-regional power has continued to increase its input into the region, deliberately escalated conflicts and provoked tensions, jeopardizing the legitimate rights and interests of littoral states and normal maritime order. In this regard, China and ASEAN countries should make clear our attitude: If you come for peace and cooperation, we welcome you; if you come here to make trouble or cause damage, please leave!
Wang Yi stressed, under the new historical conditions, we should keep in mind our original aspiration, continue to unswervingly maintain the purposes and principles of the DOC and implement the norms and propositions of the DOC, continue to hold the initiative and dominance in resolving the South China Sea issue in the hands of our regional countries, and truly make the South China Sea a sea of peace, friendship and cooperation.
First, we should continue to uphold the bottom line for peace. We firmly support all efforts that are conducive to the peaceful settlement and management of disputes, and unequivocally oppose any words and deeds that create tension and provoke confrontation in the region. We stand on the side of the aspiration of people of all countries for peace and on the right side of the trend of the times.
Second, we should continue to promote dialogue and consultation. We should continue to improve bilateral and multilateral maritime dialogue mechanisms, build mutual trust through communication and promote security through consultation, and find a path of governance in the South China Sea that balances the demands and accommodates the interests of all parties, so as to jointly achieve lasting peace and stability in the South China Sea.
Third, we should continue to deepen maritime cooperation. We should free our minds and keep exploring to gradually establish and improve a cooperation mechanism of the littoral states of the South China Sea, and actively advance practical cooperation in fields such as scientific research, environmental protection and search and rescue, among others. We should explore ways to jointly develop resources to bring more benefits to countries and people in the region.
Fourth, we should continue to advance consultations on the Code of Conduct in the South China Sea (COC). Guided by the spirit of the DOC, we should speed up the development of enhanced and upgraded versions of the DOC, and reach, at an early date, an effective and substantive COC that conforms to international law, including the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, so as to provide stronger institutional guarantee for managing differences and advancing cooperation.
Wang Yi said, as a major maritime country, China cannot and will not be separated from the sea and the South China Sea. China will continue to pursue a neighborhood diplomacy featuring amity, sincerity, mutual benefit and inclusiveness, and work with ASEAN countries to uphold maritime peace, build maritime order, promote maritime cooperation and contribute to maritime development. We believe that with the unremitting efforts of China and ASEAN countries, peace and stability in the South China Sea will be more effectively maintained, the positive momentum of maritime dialogue and cooperation will move forward in a more sustainable way, and the South China Sea and the region will have an even better and brighter future.
The symposium commemorating the 20th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea was jointly held by the Chinese Foreign Ministry as well as Wuhan University and the National Institute of the South China Sea Studies. Cambodian Deputy Prime Minister Hor Namhong and Malaysian Foreign Minister Saifuddin Abdullah attended and addressed the opening ceremony via video link. Former political dignitaries, experts and scholars from Indonesia, Singapore, Thailand, Laos, Myanmar, Vietnam and other ASEAN countries conducted in-depth discussions both online and offline.