|Premier Li Keqiang (center) and Foreign Minister Wang Yi (second from right) meet foreign ministers from member countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations during an event to mark the 10th anniversary of the strategic partnership between China and ASEAN at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on Thursday. Also pictured are Bruneian Foreign Minister Mohamed Bolkiah (left), Thai Foreign Minister Surapong Tovichakchaikul (second from left), and Cambodian Foreign Minister Hor Namhong. (FENG YONGBIN / CHINA DAILY)|
The top Chinese diplomat said on Thursday that China opposes certain ASEAN member nations "trying to tout their own stand as that of the regional organization" on the South China Sea issue, which will certainly harm common interests between China and ASEAN.
Foreign Minister Wang Yi made the remarks at a news conference after the Special ASEAN-China Foreign Ministers' Meeting, held in celebration of the 10th anniversary of their strategic partnership.
"The ASEAN colleagues and I agreed that they (the disputes) are not expected to define the relationship, and we should not allow them to affect our overall interests," Wang said in reference to the disputes over some islets in the South China Sea.
Wang said though the meeting focused on regional cooperation and trust-building, "we did not shy away from problems that exist".
"Currently the situation in the South China Sea is stable, and when we look at other places in the world, we should dearly cherish that."
Tensions between China and the Philippines have flared up in the past months over maritime territorial disputes. Manila has repeatedly sought to include the South China Sea issue in joint declarations of the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations, drawing criticism from some member countries.