China Rebuffs US Freeze Proposal on South China
Sea, Raising Dual-Track Approach
August 10, 2014
China rebuffs U.S. "freeze" proposal on South China Sea,
raising "dual-track" approach
NAY PYI TAW, Aug.10, 2014 (Xinhua) --
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said here on Saturday that China
will resolutely safeguard its sovereignty and maritime rights in the
South China Sea, dismissing any ill-intentioned proposals that would
interfere with the efforts to resolve the disputes and further
complicate regional situation.
Wang made the remarks at the China-ASEAN (10+1)Foreign Minister's
Meeting in the capital of Myanmar, which is part of a series of
multilateral meetings that bring together foreign ministers and other
top diplomats from across the world.
In a meeting with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry on Saturday
on the sidelines, Wang stressed that the overall situation in the South
China Sea is stable, and there is no problem with the freedom of
China hopes all parties cherish the hard-won stability of the
region and play a constructive role, he said.
For his part, Kerry pledged that the United States takes no sides
on the South China Sea issue and hopes for peace and stability in the
However, what the U.S. top diplomat has promised seemed not in
line with a recent U.S. proposal, which calls for a freeze of all the
so-called "provocative acts" in the South China Sea -- a move that
analysts say is partly intended to disrupt China's legitimate and normal
drilling operation in the waters.
At a press conference after the meeting, Wang clarified China' s
"unshakable" positions over the South China Sea issue, saying that his
country will resolutely safeguard its sovereignty as well as maritime
rights and interests and is committed to resolving disputes through
friendly consultations and negotiations.
While China is willing to listen to well-intentioned suggestions
from all parties on the South China Sea issue, said Wang, such
suggestions must be objective, impartial and constructive.
Suggestions designed to avoid further complication and escalation of the
situation are somewhat unnecessary, as the Declaration on the Code of
Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC) has already contained
clear provisions in this regard, he said.
Meanwhile, suggestions aimed at "setting up a separate kitchen"
and going a different way, or those leading to double standards will
inevitably interfere with implementation of the DOC and consultations on
a Code of Conduct (COC) and are also unacceptable, he added.
DURAL TRACK APPROACH
In the meantime, Wang underlined a "dual-track" approach in
resolving the South China Sea issue, which indicates that relevant
disputes should be addressed by countries directly concerned through
friendly consultations and negotiation.
Such approach conforms to international law and common practices
and constitutes one of the most important provisions in the DOC, said
Wang, adding that it is also the most effective and viable way to
resolve the South China Sea issue.
China and ASEAN countries are well capable of effectively
managing and properly handling specific disputes and maintaining overall
peace, stability and cooperation in the region, said Wang, adding that
the two sides have already found the path for resolving the South China
Within such a context, China does not approve of exaggerating or
even playing up the so-called tensions in the South China Sea, and calls
for vigilance against any hidden motives, he said.
NEW STAGE OF CHINA-ASEAN RELATIONS
Speaking highly of the time-tested relations between China and
ASEAN , the Chinese minister said his country is committed to further
advancing its strategic partnership with the regional bloc.
China and ASEAN share common interests as well as a common
destiny, said Wang, adding that China will continue to take ASEAN as a
priority in its neighborhood diplomacy amid constantly changing
China firmly supports a more prosperous and stronger ASEAN and
ASEAN's centrality in regional cooperation, as well as the conclusion of
ASEAN community building in 2015, he added.
On the South China Sea issue, Wang said full and effective
implementation of the DOC is the truly effective approach to maintain
peace and stability in the South China Sea.
Thanks to joint efforts of China and ASEAN, he said, positive
progress has been made in implementing the DOC. China is ready to
strengthen dialogue and cooperation with ASEAN to deepen practical
cooperation within the framework of the DOC and push for the early
conclusion of a code of conduct of the parties in the South China Sea
(COC) through consensus.
For their part, ASEAN foreign ministers said their countries
attach great importance to relations with China and stand ready to build
a new diamond decade of ASEAN-China relations.
ASEAN countries is ready to work together with China to fully
implement the DOC and move forward COC consultations to jointly uphold
peace and stability in the South China Sea, they said.
Editor: Yang Yi
China rebuffs U.S. efforts on South China Sea tensions
Lesley Wroughton and Paul Mooney
NAYPYITAW Sun Aug 10, 2014 9:59am EDT
appeared to rebuff pressure from the United States to rein in its
assertive actions in the South China Sea on Sunday as Southeast Asian
nations declined to overtly back Washington's proposal for a freeze on
The lack of progress in resolving the maritime tensions at Asia's
highest-profile diplomatic meeting so far this year shows the tough task
Washington faces in persuading smaller Asian nations to risk
antagonizing the region's rising power.
Foreign ministers from the 10-member Association of Southeast
Asian Nations (ASEAN) released a statement expressing concern over
"increased tensions" and called for stepped-up talks with
in what U.S. officials said was a setback for Beijing's efforts to play
down the disputes.
But there was no specific mention of China, and ASEAN only
"noted" a formal three-point plan submitted by U.S. ally the Philippines
for a moratorium on destabilizing actions.
The rancour over the disputed sea has split ASEAN, with several
states including some of the claimant nations reluctant to jeopardize
rising trade and investment ties with China. Beijing has been able to
use its influence to block regional action on the maritime issue, most
notably in 2012 when an ASEAN meeting chaired by Chinese ally Cambodia
broke down in acrimony.
"We urged all parties concerned to exercise
self-restraint and avoid actions which would complicate the situation
and undermine peace, stability, and security in the South China Sea,"
ASEAN said in a communique following its meeting this weekend in the
Their meeting was part of the ASEAN Regional Forum, which brings
together 27 countries including China,
Sea tensions spiked in May when China parked a giant oil rig in
waters claimed by Vietnam. The U.S. and Philippine proposals aimed to
prevent such actions, as well as building and land reclamation work on
disputed islands being carried out by China and other claimants.
A senior U.S. official said ASEAN countries' concern over China's
maritime actions was at an "all-time high" based on private
conversations, although their public statements were more guarded to
avoid antagonizing China.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said he was satisfied with the
"I think the language goes far enough," Kerry told
reporters. "I think we made the points that we came to make. We were not
seeking to pass something, we were trying to put something on the table
that people could embrace."
CODE OF CONDUCT
The communique did call for ASEAN and China to finalize a
proposed Code of Conduct to ease maritime tensions, including "concrete
elements" to promote trust and confidence. They have begun talks on the
code but made little substantive progress.
"This language represents a significant setback for China's
efforts to play for time and change the subject," said one senior U.S.
Chinese officials were not immediately available for comment.
China rejects U.S. involvement in the dispute and has already dismissed
the proposal for a freeze. China accuses the United States of
emboldening claimants such as the Philippines and Vietnam with its
military "pivot" back to Asia.
ASEAN and China signed a trust-building agreement in 2002 called
the Declaration of Conduct (DOC), committing to exercise
"self-restraint" in activities that would escalate disputes, such as
occupying islands and reefs or building on them. Most claimants have
flouted those guidelines, leading to rising tension between four ASEAN
claimant nations and China, which claims 90 percent of the waters.
The ASEAN secretary-general, Le Luong Minh, said it was wrong to
assume that the group did not support the U.S. proposal, noting that
China and ASEAN had committed to implement the 2002 agreement.
"This clearly shows that the essence of the proposal of the U.S.
is already reflected in the DOC," Minh said.
The Philippines accused China in May of reclaiming land on the
disputed Johnson South Reef and said it appeared to be building an
airstrip. Taiwan is building a $100 million port next to an airstrip on
the lone island it occupies in the disputed region.
As well as Johnson South Reef, a Philippine navy official told
Reuters China was continuing land reclamation work on Gaven, Cuarteron
and Eldad Reefs in the disputed Spratlys chain.
Stuart Grudgings; Editing by