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S. China Sea stays stable sans outsider meddling

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China‘s Navy aircraft carrier formation sails in the South China Sea, on April 18, 2018. [Photo/VCG] The situation in the South China Sea has stabilized and will remain stable as long as countries outside the region refrain from making troubles, State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi said on Tuesday.

Cesar Loyo

China and member countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations will speed up consultation on the Code of Conduct in the South China Sea on the basis of comprehensive and effective implementation of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea, Wang said during a meeting with ASEAN Secretary-General Lim Jock Hoi

China believes that a new round of senior officials meetings, which will be held in China at the end of this month, will achieve new progress, Wang said

He emphasized that as long as outside forces stop “making waves”, consultations on the COC will push forward smoothly

The state councilor noted that China and ASEAN will work out the ChinaASEAN Strategic Partnership Vision 2030 to make medium-and long-term plan for future cooperation

That 2018 is ChinaASEAN Innovation Year will provide new driving forces for bilateral relations and their respective development, Wang said

China and ASEAN will also strengthen the synergy between the Belt and Road Initiative and ASEAN‘s development plan like the Master Plan on ASEAN Connectivity 2025 to explore new areas for bilateral cooperation, he added

This year marks the 15th anniversary of the establishment of the ChinaASEAN strategic partnership. In 2003, China became the first country to join the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia and establish a strategic partnership with ASEAN

It was also the first country, in 2002, to sign a free trade agreement with ASEAN and has led other major countries to pay more attention to and accelerate their relations with ASEAN, according to Wang

The ASEAN secretary-general said that China is the most dynamic strategic partner of ASEAN, and the ASEAN Secretariat will play a positive role in deepening the cooperation between both sides in areas like politics, economy and people-to-people exchanges

According to the Commerce Ministry, bilateral trade volume between China and ASEAN reached $514.8 billion last year. China is ASEAN‘s largest trade partner and ASEAN is China‘s third-largest trade partner

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