Disputes in South China Sea shouldn't hamper China-ASEAN relations: Zhao Qizheng

Source:Xinhua Published: 2016/7/19 14:39:16

"Although the Chinese government has dismissed the ill-founded arbitration unilaterally initiated by the Aquino III administration, China remains open to the Philippines, and disputes in South China Sea shouldn't hamper China-ASEAN relations," Zhao Qizheng, former minister of China's State Council Information Office, said in Singapore on Tuesday.

Zhao made such remarks at the Media Briefing on South China Sea following Monday's Think Tank Seminar on South China Sea and Regional Cooperation and Development held in Singapore.

Zhao said China fully understand that ASEAN countries have common interests on the whole, and each country in the region has its own interests. China and ASEAN should maintain friendly exchanges, as well as friendly relations.

"Although the Chinese government has dismissed the ill-founded arbitration unilaterally initiated by the Aquino III administration, China remains open to the Philippines, and disputes in South China Sea shouldn't hamper China-ASEAN relations," Zhao stressed.

The former minister said the development of China-ASEAN relations should be based on common interests. China and ASEAN countries could deepen political communications, strengthen economic interactions as well as enhance cultural exchanges in the future.

Li Guoqiang, deputy director of Institute of Chinese Borderland Studies, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, echoed with Zhao's view.

Li said ASEAN is the priority of China's diplomacy with neighboring countries, the two sides have enjoyed friendly relations in various fields. China supports the integrity of ASEAN, and China is willing to cooperate with a united ASEAN.

As for the award issued by the ad hoc arbitral tribunal, Li said that China's position has been made very clear, and he expected ASEAN countries can understand China's position, while making the related parties back to negotiation table.

"Disputes in the South China Sea isn't an issue between China and ASEAN, and the disputes should be and only can be solved by negotiations between the claimants," Li added.

Li also stressed that China and ASEAN should work together to maintain peace and stability in the region. "China can only play one part, the two sides need to join hands and move towards each other to secure peace and stability."

Organized by the Institute of Chinese Borderland Studies, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, the one-day seminar attracted more than 20 experts from academic institutes in China and Southeast Asian countries, including Thailand, Cambodia and Malaysia.

Posted in: Diplomacy

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