Xi reasserts China’s sovereignty over SCS

Beijing: President Xi Jinping today said China will “firmly safeguard” its sovereignty in the South China Sea, but at the same time the country is willing to peacefully resolve the maritime disputes with several of neighbours through direct talks.

“China is always committed to peace and stability in the South China Sea,” Xi said while addressing the opening ceremony of the fifth foreign ministers’ meeting of the Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia (CICA) here.

“While China will firmly safeguard its sovereignty, rights and interests, it is willing to peacefully solve the disputes through friendly consultation and dialogue with the countries directly involved,” he said. China will work with Southeast Asian nations to make the South China Sea a region of peace, friendship and cooperation, Xi said.

CICA, which has 26 members including India, was formed based on a proposal by Kazakhstan President Nursultan Nazarbayev in 1992 to further inter government consultations.

China is its current Chairman. India was represented at the meeting by Indian Ambassador to China Vijay Keshav Gokhale.

On Afghanistan crisis, Xi said China will play a constructive role in the Istanbul Process on Afghanistan.

China supports an “Afghan-led, Afghan-owned” inclusive political reconciliation process, hopes the country can realise peace, stability and development at an early date and is ready to provide assistance, he said.

He said China stands for and will continue to help promote a peaceful settlement of the Syrian issue and the Palestine-Israel issue through political negotiation.

On the denuclearisation of Korean Peninsula, Xi said China is fully adhered to the UN Security Council resolution.

He urged all the parties involved to exercise restraint, avoid provocation and pull the nuclear issue back to a track of dialogue and negotiations at an early date.

He reaffirmed China’s adherence to a peaceful foreign policy, vowing “China will unswervingly take a peaceful path of development, maintain an international order with the purposes and principles of the UN Charter at the core, promote a new-type international relationship featuring cooperation and reciprocity, and be committed to building a common destiny for mankind.”

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