China Vows Cooperation in Disputed Sea


China is eager to encourage mutual cooperation in the conflict-ridden South China Sea, its ambassador to Indonesia said on Tuesday.

Ambassador Liu Jianchao said Beijing was consistent in its sovereignty claims in the South China Sea, despite the many overlapping maritime border claims with countries in the region. But China is also aware that the conflicts resulting from these overlapping claims are not only complex but will take a long time to address and even longer to settle, Liu told a meeting with journalists in Jakarta.

“To give rise to peace in the region, we support cooperation. … If we can cooperate in the region, the potential for conflict would be low,” he said.

He said cooperation in the South China Sea would create not only peace but also a stable environment for the region.

Liu called on countries with claims in the South China Sea not to raise tensions by taking unilateral steps, but rather agree to cooperate in developing the region.

He said China and Indonesia, which does not have any disputed claims in the South China Sea, had both agreed to abide by a document of conduct agreed to by countries in the region, and work together to draft a code of conduct for countries along the rim of the sea.

Liu said the leaders of Indonesia and China agreed in March to set up a Joint Maritime Cooperation Commission, chaired by the deputy foreign ministers of both countries and involving various ministries from the two countries.

He cited among others the ministries of foreign affairs, research and technology, security and defense, maritime and fisheries affairs, transportation and the environment. “There are about 10 ministries involved on each side,” Liu said. He added that the commission would convene its first meeting as soon as possible.

The ambassador said both sides were looking at projects they could cooperate on in the maritime sector, including in the South China Sea. “We will both work to encourage peace in the region and both countries will encourage cooperation in the region,” the ambassador said.

He added that the main goal of the joint commission was to improve bilateral cooperation in maritime affairs.


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