BEIJING, March 8 (Xinhua) -- China has strong resolve and deep commitment to maintain peace and stability in the South China Sea, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said Thursday.
"China's position is firm and consistent," Wang told a press conference on the sidelines of the annual session of the National People's Congress.
China follows a responsible approach to the South China Sea issue, taking into account interests of the Chinese people, historical facts, regional peace and the international rule of law, he said.
Wang said there is a golden opportunity as China and ASEAN countries all agreed to develop a Code of Conduct (COC) in the South China Sea to preserve its hard-won tranquility.
"China and ASEAN countries are willing and able to draft regional rules on our own, rules which will meet our region's imperatives and be adhered to by all," he said.
However, Wang said there are also challenges in the South China Sea.
"Some outside forces are not happy with the prevailing calm, and try to stir up trouble and muddle the waters. Their frequent show of force with fully-armed aircraft and naval vessels is the most destabilizing factor in the region," he said.
According to Wang, China will work with ASEAN countries to seize the opportunity, broaden cooperation, prevent interference, and overcome challenges in the year ahead.
"Cherishing what we have achieved together, China and ASEAN countries will speed up COC consultation, explore a mechanism of cooperation among the coastal states and promote peace and cooperation in the South China Sea," he said.