By Roy Mabasa
China is deeply committed to preserve peace and stability in the disputed waters of the South China Sea, considered to be one of the world’s flashpoints.
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi brought this commitment to light in a a press conference held on the sidelines of the annual session of the National People’s Congress Thursday.
Wang, however, was quick to reiterate that while it follows a responsible approach to the South China Sea issue, China’s position in the ongoing territorial dispute remains “firm and consistent” as it subscribes to the interests of the Chinese people, historical facts, regional peace, and the international rule of law.
Foreign policy and security experts have consistently pointed out that the South China Sea is a potential international security flashpoint stemming primarily from several significant territorial disputes between China, Vietnam, the Philippines, Taiwan, Malaysia and Brunei.
But this is not how Foreign Minister Wang perceives the matter as it currently stands considering that China today is in a much better position to help resolve various regional and international issues, such as the South China Sea disputes, and is ready to play its part, which accords with international anticipation.
He pointed out that as a permanent member of the UN Security Council, China takes seriously of its responsibility for maintaining international security.
Wang also reiterated China’s preference in resolving the issue through dialogue and negotiation and firmly rejects use of force.
“In helping to settle regional flashpoints, China has its do’s and don’ts,” he said.
Furthermore, the Chinese foreign minister stressed that China respects other countries’ wishes and sovereignty, never meddles in their internal affairs and firmly rejects imposing one’s own views on others.
“We do our best to be fair and objective, and proceed from the merits of the matter. We firmly reject pursuing private interests,” Wang said.
He said in pursuit of this objective, China looks to upgrade the strategic partnership and build a closer community of shared future with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, a regional organization that includes as members four South China Sea claimants.
Wang said China will continue to put the cooperation with ASEAN high on its agenda of international cooperation this year.