Chinese FM calls for more dialogue on bilateral and regional issues

World Today

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi(C) speaks to the press after the meetings in Vientiane, capital of Laos, on July 26, 2016. (Xinhua)

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi on Tuesday called on regional nations to enhance dialogue on bilateral and regional issues and explore precautionary diplomatic models.

After meetings in the Lao capital, Wang said China and members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) have exerted joint efforts to make the ministerial meetings focus on dialogue and cooperation, and most of the foreign ministers came to Vientiane with desire for cooperation.

“China and the ASEAN nations have agreed to build a closer community of common destiny,” said Wang, adding that they have set six priority areas for the further development of China-ASEAN ties. China and the 10 ASEAN members agreed to jointly strive to boost cultural and people-to-people exchanges as the third pillar for their cooperation besides the political-security dialogue and trade and economic ties.

On the South China Sea issue, China and the ASEAN nations have reached an important consensus that they agreed to return to the track of solving their disputes through dialogue and consultation, Wang noted.

ASEAN foreign ministers have made it clear that ASEAN as a whole will not take a position on the so-called arbitration case, which they believe is a bilateral issue between China and the Philippines, Wang said.

He also mentioned that China and the ASEAN nations issued a joint statement on full and effective implementation of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea, which stipulates that 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.

Meanwhile, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi criticized the United States, Japan and Australia for a joint statement on the South China Sea that he said was only “fanning the flames” of regional tensions just as countries have agreed to cool them down.

Wang said in a statement Wednesday that the move by the three countries came at an inappropriate time and wasn’t constructive.

“This trilateral statement is fanning the flames,” he said. “Now it is the time to test whether you are peacekeepers or troublemakers,” said Wang’s statement, referring to the three countries.

The U.S., Japanese and Australia’s foreign ministers met in Laos on the sidelines of a series of meetings organized by ASEAN. The grouping could have leveraged the recent decision by a permanent arbitration panel, which ruled in favor of the Philippines in a case it brought against China in their dispute in the South China Sea.

Story by Xinhua and The Associated Press.