China to align initiative with ASEAN’s development strategies

Beijing, Aug 6 (IANS) Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi has said his country was willing to align its “One Belt, One Road” initiative with the development strategies of the Asean member-nations.

The assertion was made during the China-Asean Foreign Ministers’ Meeting held in the Malaysian capital Kuala Lumpur on Wednesday, Xinhua news agency reported.

As special dialogue partners, the two sides are backbones in safeguarding regional peace, stability and development, he said, adding that cooperation is the main platform for China to participate in regional cooperation.

Wang said that China-Asean relationship is continuously moving forward, with substantial development achieved in the preparation for the establishment of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), positive achievements in a series of initiatives like Free Trade Zone upgrade and smooth implementation of “the Year of China-Asean Maritime Cooperation”.

Wang said China regards the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) as a priority in China’s diplomatic policy with neighbouring countries, a key region for constructing the “21st Century Maritime Silk Road” and an important partner in building the new-type international relations featuring win-win cooperation.

The hard-won peace in the South China Sea is the result of China and Asean’s joint efforts, he said.

All parties in and outside the region are responsible and obliged to support the efforts made by China and Asean countries, he said while proposing three initiatives to maintain peace, stability of South China Sea.

The first initiative is that countries in the South China Sea pledge to implement the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC) in a comprehensive, effective and complete way, accelerate consultations on formulating a Code of Conduct (COC) for the South China Sea and actively discuss “precautionary measures for maritime risk management and control”.

Second, countries outside the region pledge to support the above-mentioned efforts by countries in the region, and do not take actions that may cause tension and complexity in the region.

Third, countries pledge to exercise and safeguard their freedom of navigation in the South China Sea in accordance with international law.

Asean member-states hailed Wang’s three initiatives to maintain peace, stability of South China Sea, as well as the positive progress achieved at the senior officials’ meeting in Tianjin, China on the implementation of the DOC and formulation of the COC.

Asean is willing to work with China on the implementation of the DOC and enhance consultation on the COC so as to build the South China Sea into a sea of peace, friendship and cooperation, according to the foreign ministers.

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