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Asean, China officials in talks over easing maritime disputes

Publication Date : 30-10-2012


Senior officials from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) and China met in Pattaya yesterday to prepare for the 15th Asean-China Summit, the Asean Plus Three Commemorative Summit, and the 7th East Asia Summit to be held in Phnom Penh next month.

The officials discussed ways to reduce tension in the South China Sea, including implementing a Declaration of Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC).

They agreed it was important to ensure that stability prevails in the South China Sea and that Asean and China maintain smooth and effective dialogue on the issue.

Leaders said all parties had reached important agreement and had a major interest in upholding peace in the South China Sea.

Asean and China expressed a commitment to "full and effective implementation of the DOC declaration and support to Cambodia in hosting a joint workshop in commemoration of the 10th anniversary of the DOC in early November".

The leaders also agreed to keep the momentum of dialogue and consultation, and to work together to create trust and confidence for the eventual adoption of a code of conduct in the South China Sea on the basis of consensus.

The senior officials spoke highly of progress made in Asean-China cooperation over the past 20 years since the beginning of the dialogue. They said completion of an Asean-China free-trade agreement (FTA), in particular, had strengthened links between the two sides. Good-neighbourly relations and mutually beneficial cooperation had not only boosted development of Asean and China, but also contributed to peace, stability, prosperity and development of the whole region.

They agreed that against the current backdrop of complex and profound changes in global and regional landscapes, it was essential Asean and China strengthen communication, enhance trust and work together to tackle challenges for common development.

Next year will mark the 10th anniversary of the Asean-China Strategic Partnership. The two sides hope to take the opportunity to advance cooperation across the board - from political exchanges to trade and investment, from connectivity to culture and people-to-people exchanges, in an effort to enrich the strategic partnership and move the relationship forward.

With lingering impacts from the international financial downturn and growing risks in the global economy, they said it had become a shared aspiration that meetings focus on development, unity and cooperation to bolster confidence of the region in a "trying time" and drive the region's economy forward.

China attached importance to the centrality of Asean in advancing East Asian cooperation, they said.


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