|China and the 10-member Association of Southeast Asia Nations conducted two days of meetings from Sept 14-15, 2013 on implementing the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea. (Photo/Xinhua)|
BEIJING, Sept. 16 -- China and the 10-member Association of Southeast Asia Nations conducted two days of meetings over the weekend on implementing the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea and expanding maritime cooperation.
The long-awaited meeting was a constructive move toward resolving the maritime disputes in the South China Sea through negotiations and consultations.
As both sides had made preparations beforehand, they were able to have in-depth exchanges on the full and effective implementation of the DOC, which was signed in 2002. Consultations were also held on a more detailed and legally binding Code of Conduct in the South China Sea.
Considering that a few countries have ratcheted up tensions over the South China Sea, it is consoling to see China and ASEAN are quickening their steps to negotiate a code of conduct, which will contribute to safeguarding peace and stability in the troubled waters.
China and ASEAN are determined to build the surrounding seas into bonds of peace, friendship and cooperation, and as the disputes only involve a few members of ASEAN with China, the two sides are determined to resolve the disputes at the bilateral level.
That the two sides have agreed upon a series of measures to deepen their pragmatic cooperation at sea during the weekend meetings shows cooperation has always and will continue to be the mainstream in China-ASEAN interaction.
Any deviation from the track of maintaining sound, stable China-ASEAN cooperation will be counterproductive and against the fundamental interests of the region, thus doomed to failure. And any attempt to upset the desirable atmosphere the two have been cultivating for talks over the South China Sea will be an open challenge to the regional consensus and, therefore, deserves nothing but condemnation.
However, Manila once again tried to disrupt China-ASEAN consultations. Before the Suzhou meetings, the Philippines again started a war of words with China. It fabricated a story that China had laid some concrete blocks on Huangyan Island, which was the spot where Chinese fishermen were harassed by Philippine warships last year.
Manila's irresponsible stance will only further estrange it in the region, as there is an irreversible trend to achieve appropriate solutions to the South China Sea disputes through consultation and bilateral cooperation.