Chinese Premier Li Keqiang on Thursday spelled out China’s stance on the South China Sea issue in his speech at the 11th East Asia Summit, calling for concerted efforts of all relevant parties to properly handle disputes.
Li reaffirmed China’s objection to the South China Sea arbitration, citing China’s right under United Nations Conference on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) to settling disputes primarily through dialogue and consultation.
Li called for bringing sea disputes under control before they are settled.
"China and ASEAN nations have the full wisdom and ability to manage the South China Sea issue," Li said, adding that nations outside the region should "understand and support" the efforts made by nations within it, rather than "overstating differences or even sowing the discord."
Li stressed that China has always managed the South China Sea issue with a constructive attitude in order to guarantee regional peace and stability.
He expressed China’s readiness to work with other parties to translate challenges in East Asia into an opportunity for stability and sustained prosperity.
In his speech, Li lauded the role of the East Asia Summit in advancing understanding and mutual trust of all parties and promoting regional stability and prosperity in East Asia.
Li reaffirmed the two-pronged goal of economic development and political security for such a "strategic forum led by leaders."
On economic development, Li said all parties should place regional connectivity high on the agenda, step up building a free trade area, and cooperate more on social undertakings.
On political security, Li called for formulating a new Asian security concept, which are "common, comprehensive, cooperative and sustainable."
Li reiterated China’s diplomatic principles that all countries, big or small, are all equal, should respect each other, and seek common ground and shelve differences.
Li also urged closer cooperation on non-traditional security issues including terrorism, natural disasters, trans-national crime and infectious diseases.
For their parts, the summit leaders agreed on establishing a framework that can effectively meet non-traditional challenges.