ULAN BATOR, July 14 (Xinhua) -- The South China Sea issue should be solved through bilateral negotiations by relevant parties on the basis of historical facts and in accordance with international law and the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC), Chinese Premier Li Keqiang said here Thursday.
Li made the remarks while meeting with Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc. The two leaders will attend the 11th Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) Summit, which will be held in Ulan Bator from July 15 to 16.
The Chinese premier called on Vietnam to value the hard-won momentum in the development of bilateral relations and jointly safeguard peace and stability in the South China Sea with China.
Nguyen Xuan Phuc, for his part, said Vietnam respects China's stance on the arbitration, which was unilaterally initiated by the Philippines, and Vietnam maintains that the disputes should be solved peacefully through negotiations.
On the award issued Tuesday by an arbitral tribunal in The Hague, Li said China has been very clear on its stance of not recognizing or accepting the award. The DOC has helped maintain peace and stability in the South China Sea over the past years, he said.
The DOC, signed in 2002 by China and The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) member states, including the Philippines, stipulates that the parties concerned undertake to resolve their territorial and jurisdictional disputes by peaceful means, through friendly consultations and negotiations by sovereign states directly concerned.