Press Trust of India
Beijing, 4 August
In a bid to calm down tempers over South China Sea disputes, China has proposed a three-way formula, including direct “bilateral” talks, to address the escalating tensions with several of its maritime neighbours.
On a fence mending mission with the Association of South East Asian Countries (Asean) countries whose top officials are meeting in Bangkok, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said the three-way formula could be tried simultaneously to resolve the vexed dispute.
An agreement can be reached through consultation and negotiation between “direct parties concerned”, he said during his meeting with Surukiat Sathirathai, Chairman of Asia Peace Reconciliation Council, yesterday.
The only way that can lead to final solution is through direct talks between the parties concerned, he said. Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia and Brunei, which are all part of Asean have been pressing for the regional bloc to collectively deal with China, which claims almost all of the South China Sea as its own.
They are also seeking help of the USA to resolve the dispute.
Mr Wang said China is always opening its door for dialogue with all disputing parties.
The allegation that bilateral negotiation could not be moved forward is untrue and baseless, state-run Xinhua news agency quoted him as saying. He said the second way to resolve the issue is to continue to implement the Declaration of the Conduct (DOC) while gradually push forward the consultations on the Conduct of Code of the South China Sea.
Both the DOC and Conduct of Code are not the solutions for disputes, but meant to commonly safeguard peace and stability in the region, Mr Wang said.
Referring to the exploitation of natural resources like oil and minerals, the Chinese Foreign Minister said the third way is to search for ways of common exploitation.
As it takes time to find a final solution for the South China Sea disputes, concerned parties meanwhile should jointly search for ways of common exploitation on a win-win and mutually beneficial basis, he said.