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China rebuffs US ‘freeze’ proposal on S China Sea

NAY PYI TAW: Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said 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 navigation.
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 region.
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.
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 Sea issue. 
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.
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 international situation.
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. 

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