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China calls for joint efforts to safeguard stability in South China Sea

A Chinese spokesman called for joint efforts to implement the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC) to safeguard peace and stability.

Spokesman Qin Gang made the remarks at a daily news briefing on Monday when answering a question on China's stance on a South China Sea arbitration initiated by the Philippines.

On Jan. 22, 2013, the Philippines unilaterally initiated compulsory arbitration proceedings with respect to the relevant issues between China and the Philippines in the South China Sea. Monday was the deadline for China to respond to the case.

Quoting a position paper released a week ago, Qin said China will neither accept nor participate in the "so-called" arbitration and that the Arbitral Tribunal does not have jurisdiction over the case.

"China's stance regarding the South China Sea is consistent and clear," Qin said, adding that the Chinese side insists all sides concerned should address disputes through consultations and negotiations with the precondition that historical facts and international law are respected.

"(We) hope all sides will work together with China, in this spirit and in accordance with the principles established in the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea, to safeguard peace and stability in the South China Sea," he said.

Signed in 2002 between China and the member States of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, including the Philippines, the DOC explicitly states that "the Parties concerned undertake to resolve their territorial and jurisdictional disputes by peaceful means ... through friendly consultations and negotiations by sovereign states directly concerned, in accordance with universally recognized principles of international law."

"Meanwhile, China's determination to safeguard the territorial and maritime interests is firm," Qin said. "If some side makes deliberate provocations unilaterally, China will have to make necessary response," he added.

[Source: Xinhua, Beijing, 15Dec14]

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East China Sea Conflict
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