World / China-Singapore

China, ASEAN capable of safeguarding peace in South China Sea: Xi

(Xinhua) Updated: 2015-11-07 14:15

China, ASEAN capable of safeguarding peace in South China Sea: Xi

President Xi Jinping speaks during the "Forging A Strong Partnership to Enhance Prosperity of Asia" Lecture at the National University of Singapore, Nov 7, 2015. [Photo/Agencies]

SINGAPORE - China is capable of and confident in working with Southeast Asian nations to maintain peace and stability in South China Sea, Chinese President Xi Jinping said here Saturday.

Thanks to joint efforts by China and other coastal countries, the situation at South China Sea is generally peaceful, Xi said in an address to over 450 teachers, students and officials at the National University of Singapore.

The freedom of navigation and overflight in South China Sea neither has been nor will be hindered, he said, stressing that China needs unimpeded passage in the body of water more than any other country does.

Noting that the South China Sea islands in disputes between China and other claimants have been Chinese territory since ancient times, Xi said Beijing shoulders inescapable responsibility to safeguard territorial sovereignty and legitimate maritime rights and interests.

Although some South China Sea islands over which China has sovereignty have been illegally occupied by others, Beijing has always insisted on settling the disputes through peaceful means, Xi said, while pointing out that peace and stability are both the starting points and the objectives of China's South China Sea policy.

China, he said, is dedicated to solving the disputes with other claimants through negotiation and consultation on the basis of respecting historical facts and in accordance with international law.

"We are fully capable of and confident in working with members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations to maintain peace and stability in South China Sea," he said.

Meanwhile, China welcomes outside countries to partake in the cause of Asian peace and development, Xi said.

Stressing that the most important task facing national governments across Asia is to realize sustained and rapid development, which requires a peaceful environment, Xi said countries in other parts of the world should understand and respect that fact.

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