BOAO, Hainan, March 25 (Xinhua) -- China on Saturday called on littoral countries of the South China Sea to establish a cooperation mechanism.
Vice Foreign Minister Liu Zhenmin made the proposal when delivering a speech at a symposium on South China Sea as part of the Boao Forum for Asia (BFA) annual conference.
Without interfering with each country's proposition, the mechanism would serve as a platform to enhance mutual trust, strengthen cooperation and share interests, Liu said.
It would contribute to exchanges in such areas as disaster prevention and reduction, maritime rescue, environmental protection, biodiversity, scientific research and navigation safety, he added.
Liu noted the mechanism would be complementary to the existing bilateral ones between China and member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) as well as multilateral ones between China and ASEAN countries under the framework of Declaration of the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC).
It would not involve resolving disputes, rather, it aims to press ahead pragmatic cooperation, the vice minister stressed.
Noting cooperation among littoral countries should not affect settlement of territorial and jurisdictional disputes through consultation and negotiation by countries directly concerned, Liu expressed China's willingness to conduct further communication and coordination with concerning parties.
Responding to Liu's proposal positively, experts attending the symposium urged all littoral states of the South China Sea to cement traditional friendship, jointly push forward pragmatic cooperation, and create benign atmosphere for the final settlement of disputes via consultation and negotiation by countries directly concerned.