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China sticks to two-way talks by relevant parties in solving South China Sea disputes

(Xinhua) Updated: 2016-07-14 20:06

ULAN BATOR - The South China Sea issue should be solved through bilateral negotiations by relevant parties on the basis of historical facts and in accordance with international law and the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC), Chinese Premier Li Keqiang said here Thursday.

Li made the remarks while meeting with Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc. The two leaders will attend the 11th Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) Summit, which will be held in Ulan Bator from July 15 to 16.

The Chinese premier called on Vietnam to value the hard-won momentum in the development of bilateral relations and jointly safeguard peace and stability in the South China Sea with China.

Nguyen Xuan Phuc, for his part, said Vietnam respects China's stance on the arbitration, which was unilaterally initiated by the Philippines, and Vietnam maintains that the disputes should be solved peacefully through negotiations.

On the award issued Tuesday by an arbitral tribunal in The Hague, Li said China has been very clear on its stance of not recognizing or accepting the award. The DOC has helped maintain peace and stability in the South China Sea over the past years, he said.

The DOC, signed in 2002 by China and The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) member states, including the Philippines, stipulates that the parties concerned undertake to resolve their territorial and jurisdictional disputes by peaceful means, through friendly consultations and negotiations by sovereign states directly concerned.

On bilateral ties, Li said China-Vietnam relations have shown a positive momentum since last year, with early results yielding in maritime, land and financial cooperation.

China is willing to work with Vietnam to speed up the alignment of their development strategies, make solid progress in industrial capacity cooperation, define and launch prioritized cooperation projects at an early date, so as to promote the development of bilateral trade in a balanced and sustained manner, said Li.

He also called the two sides to strengthen maritime cooperation while speeding up the follow-up work of a joint inspection of the waters outside the Beibu Gulf bordering the two countries.

The two sides should actively expand people-to-people exchanges and foster intimate friendship between the two peoples, particularly the two youths, said Li, calling for concerted efforts from the two sides for a healthy and stable development of comprehensive strategic cooperation.

Phuc said Vietnam and China enjoy a "comradely and brotherly" relationship with common interests significantly overriding differences. Vietnam sees its ties with China as a top priority in Vietnam's foreign relations, and is willing to maintain high-level exchanges with China and advance cooperation in various fields in a balanced and health manner, he said.

Vietnam stands ready to push forward the mechanism of bilateral maritime negotiations and properly manage differences with China, so as to contribute to regional peace and stability, Phuc said.

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