LEADERS from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and China issued a joint statement yesterday on the application of the Code for Unplanned Encounters at Sea in the South China Sea.
The statement was issued after the two sides held the 19th Asia-China Summit in Laotian capital Vientiane and commemorated the 25th anniversary of relations between Asia and China.
The document reaffirmed commitment to the 2002 Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea and the Joint Statement of the Foreign Ministers of Asian Member States and China on the Full and Effective Implementation of the DOC, including the importance of the freedom of navigation and overflight.
It said the two sides recognized that maintaining peace and stability in the South China Sea region serves the fundamental interests of Asian member states and China as well as the international community.
The joint statement recognized that Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam and China are members of the Western Pacific Naval Symposium and have adopted CUES.
CUES, as a coordinated means of communication to maximize safety at sea, offers a means by which navies may develop mutually rewarding international cooperation and transparency, according to the document.
Leaders from the two sides reaffirmed in the statement their commitment to CUES in order to improve operational safety of naval ships and naval aircraft in air and at sea, and ensure mutual trust.
The document said the leaders agreed to use the safety and communication procedures for the safety of all the naval ships and naval aircraft, as set out in CUES, when they encounter each other in the South China Sea.
Premier Li Keqiang said relations between China and Asia have made great strides and promoted regional peace, stability and prosperity.
China and Asia have valued the development and cooperation of the principle of mutual respect, understanding, trust and support since 1991, when they established the dialogue relations, he said.
“The past 25 years have seen growing mutual trust and pragmatic achievements made between China and Asia,” he said yesterday.
The premier added that China has always regarded Asia as an important force in safeguarding regional peace and stability and in promoting regional integration and world multi-polarization.
Li also pledged to give Asia a priority in China’s drive to develop its relations with neighboring countries.
He said China will support the building of an Asian community, Asia’s central role in regional cooperation, and its growing part to play in international and regional affairs.
China is willing to work with Asian nations to cement the strategic communication between the two sides, advance the 2+7 cooperation framework, and energetically promote people-to-people and cultural exchanges, he said.
Asian leaders, who praised the amazing achievements the two sides have made in the past 25 years, echoed the premier’s thoughts and expressed confidence for their relations in future.
Asian leaders said the development of relations with China would benefit Asian nations and are conducive to building an Asian community.
Asia is ready to cement the relations and tap new potential in promoting mutual political trust, deepening economic and trade cooperation, and expanding people-to-people and cultural exchanges with China, they said.
They looked forward to lifting China-Asian relations to a new level to promote regional peace and development.
In the ceremony held at the National Convention Center in Vientiane, Li and Asian leaders watched a short film chronicling China’s growing relations with Asia in the last quarter of a century and looking into their bright prospects in the future.
Li and Laotian Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith also inaugurated a handbook titled “25 Years of Asian-China Dialogue and Cooperation: Facts and Figures.”
Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, whose country is the coordinator of China-Asian relations, joined them to cut a commemorative cake.