Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said during a foreign ministers’ meeting of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) that the “page of the South China Sea arbitration has been turned over.”
When meeting with Slovak Foreign and European Affairs Minister Miroslav Lajcak, whose country currently holds the rotating European Union (EU) Council presidency, Monday in the Lao capital, Wang said China and the ASEAN members have reached consensus on returning to the right track of dialogue and consultation between countries directly involved in the maritime disputes with a “dual-track” approach.
China has advocated the “dual-track” approach — disputes should be resolved peacefully through negotiation between the parties directly concerned, and China and ASEAN countries should work together to maintain peace and stability in the South China Sea.
“The page of the South China Sea arbitration has been turned over,” said the top Chinese diplomat, adding that the “dual-track” approach complies with international law, including the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).
He urged countries to focus on cooperation and jointly deal with other pressing challenges such as terrorism and climate change.
Lajcak said the EU welcomed the consensus reached between China and the ASEAN members on full and effective implementation of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC).
The EU will not take sides on the South China Sea issue, and is ready to play a constructive role in helping solve the maritime spats.
Meanwhile, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said on Tuesday he supported the resumption of talks between China and the Philippines over the South China Sea.
“The foreign minister said the time has come to move away from public tensions and turn the page,” Kerry told a news conference. “And we agree with that… no claimant should be acting in a way that is provocative, no claimant should take steps that wind up raising tensions.”
Kerry said he would encourage Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte to engage in dialogue and negotiations with China when the two meet in Manila on Wednesday. Kerry is due to travel to the Philippines later on Tuesday.
Story from Xinhua and Reuters.