China, ASEAN reach consensus to deepen strategic partnership

NAY PYI TAW: Foreign Ministers of China and ASEAN reached consensus Saturday to further deepen strategic partnership between China and ASEAN, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said here Saturday.
Wang made the remarks at a joint press conference with Acting Foreign Minister Sihasak Phuangketkeow of Thailand following the ASEAN-China Foreign Ministers Meeting held as part of the 47th ASEAN Foreign Ministers Meeting (AMM) in Myanmar's capital of Nay Pyi Taw.
Wang stressed the building of a closer China-ASEAN community of common destiny, saying that an important mission at the moment is to actively move forward the series of agreements already reached between leaders of China and ASEAN countries on growing bilateral ties and ensure the success of the 17th China-ASEAN Summit to be held in November.
Wang said China has put forward under the 2+7 framework 12 specific initiatives to advance China-ASEAN relations on three fronts. On the political front, China has suggested to hold the China- ASEAN informal leaders' meeting in combination with the Boao Forum for Asia annual conference or the China-ASEAN Expo and to launch discussion on the signing of a China-ASEAN treaty on good- neighborliness, friendship and cooperation.
China has also suggested the formulation of the Plan of Action to Implement the Joint Declaration on the ASEAN-China Strategic Partnership for Peace and Prosperity (2016-2020). China is ready to sign with ASEAN the Protocol to the Treaty on the Southeast Asia Nuclear Weapon-Free Zone at an early date, he said.
On the regional front, while welcoming the recent launch of negotiation between China and ASEAN on the upgraded CAFTA, he expressed China's willingness to discuss working objectives and plans for the next stage. China looks forward to working with ASEAN to jointly build the 21st century maritime Silk Road and is willing to put forward concrete ideas for such cooperation, he added.
China also expressed welcome for all the ten ASEAN members to join the building of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank as founding members. Moreover, China is ready to conduct exchanges and cooperation with Mekong river basin countries within the 10+1 framework to narrow the development gap among ASEAN members, he said, adding that China wishes to hold the first informal China-ASEAN defense ministers' meeting in China the next year to actively promote non- traditional security cooperation.
On the maritime cooperation front, he said China suggested the designation of 2015 as China-ASEAN maritime cooperation year and the strengthening of exchanges and cooperation in marine economy, environmental protection, scientific research, connectivity, security as well as cultural and people-to-people exchanges. Suggesting to promote maritime joint development through dialogue and consultation, he said China is willing to discuss ways of dialogue and cooperation with coastal countries of the South China Sea to jointly maintain peace, stability and development in the South China Sea.
Believing that full and effective implementation of the Declaration of the Conduct of the Parties in the South China Sea is the right approach to earnestly maintain peace and stability in the South China Sea, China suggests all parties to strengthen dialogue and cooperation to promote implementation of the DOC, conduct practical cooperation within the framework of DOC and push for the early conclusion of a code of conduct of the parties in the South China Sea on the basis of consensus.
According to Wang, all parties agreed to hold the China-ASEAN special Senior Officials' Meeting (SOM) in China this September and look forward to the 8th SOM and the 12th Joint Working Group meeting on the implementation of DOC in Thailand this October. He expressed belief that China and ASEAN countries have capabilities and wisdom to build South China Sea into a sea of peace, friendship and cooperation. The 47th AMM, which kicked off at the Myanmar Convention Center Friday, has brought their counterparts from dialogue partner countries to discuss political, security and developmental issues that have significant impact on the region. 

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