BELGRADE, June 18, 2016 (Xinhua) -- Chinese President Xi Jinping (L) and Serbian President Tomislav Nikolic attend a signing ceremony for a joint statement to lift bilateral relationship of China and Serbia to comprehensive strategic partnership after they held talks in Belgrade, Serbia, June 18, 2016. (Xinhua/Li Tao)
BELGRADE, June 18 (Xinhua) -- China and Serbia stressed Saturday that the South China Sea disputes should be settled by directly concerned parties through friendly consultations and negotiations.
The two sides set forth the consensus in a joint statement issued here during Chinese President Xi Jinping's ongoing state visit to the Balkan country.
In the document, Beijing and Belgrade also pointed out that those directly involved parties should abide by bilateral agreements and the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC) while seeking a peaceful solution to the territorial and maritime rows.
The DOC, signed by China and 10 Southeast Asian countries in November 2002, states that the parties concerned will "resolve their territorial and jurisdictional disputes by peaceful means, without resorting to the threat or use of force, through friendly consultations and negotiations by sovereign states directly concerned, in accordance with universally recognized principles of international law."
Xi arrived in Belgrade on Friday for a historic visit to Serbia as China seeks to carry forward traditional friendship and step up economic engagement with the Balkan country. It is the first visit by a Chinese head of state to Serbia in 32 years.
A number of cooperation deals covering economy, trade, industrial capacity, finance and education are expected to be inked.