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Chinese Premier restates China's stance on South China Sea

BALI, Indonesia, Nov. 19 (Xinhua) -- Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao reaffirmed here Saturday China's stance on the South China Sea, stressing the East Asia summit was not the right forum to discuss the issue.

He said dispute should be resolved among directly related sovereign countries through friendly consultation and negotiation in a peaceful way.

Wen made the remarks at the 6th East Asia Summit, currently being held on this Indonesian island.

"I don't want to discuss this issue at the summit, however, leaders of some countries mentioned China on the issue. It's impolite not to make a return for what one receives. So, I am willing to reiterate China's stance," he said, adding China's stance was "clear and consistent".

China and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) countries signed the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC) in 2002, decided to promote pragmatic cooperation and work for a code of conduct. "This is a common will of both China and ASEAN countries," he said.

A resolution among directly related countries through friendly negotiation and consultation in a peaceful way was a consensus reached in the DOC, Wen said.

"We hope relevant parties would take into concern the overall situation of regional peace and stability, and do something more conducive to mutual trust and cooperation," he said.

He stressed the economic development of east Asia and southeast Asia proved navigation freedom and security in the South China Sea were not affected by the countries' disputes. Navigation freedom granted by international laws in this area had been fully guaranteed.

"The South China Sea is an important transportation passageway for China, regional countries and even the world. The Chinese government has made a positive contribution to safeguard the navigation security in the South China Sea," the premier said.

With our joint efforts, east Asia has maintained peace and stability for many years. It is the trend of the times and people's common will to maintain the long-term peace and stability in east Asia. Countries in this region also have the wisdom and capability to appropriately resolve issues left over from history, Wen said.

He said it was necessary to maintain the East Asia Summit as a leader's strategic forum, and its theme of solidarity, development and cooperation. "We cannot diverge from this direction," the premier said.

The DOC was signed in November 2002 as a code of conduct for all parties involved in diplomatic issues in the South China Sea.

It is a political document aimed at safeguarding stability in the South China Sea, promoting political mutual trust, advancing cooperation and creating favorable conditions and atmosphere for the interested countries to ultimately settle their disputes by peaceful means. In July 2011, China and ASEAN countries agreed on the Guidelines for the implementation of the DOC.

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