Regional countries must grasp key to peace, stability in South China Sea in own hands: FM

Source: Xinhua| 2019-03-08 15:40:35|Editor: Liangyu
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Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi answers questions at a press conference on China's foreign policy and relations on the sidelines of the second session of the 13th National People's Congress in Beijing, capital of China, March 8, 2019. (Xinhua/Shen Bohan)

BEIJING, March 8 (Xinhua) -- Regional countries must grasp the key to peace and stability in the South China Sea in their own hands, Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi said here Friday.

The situation in the South China Sea has been stabilized and improving in recent years, he told a press conference on the sidelines of the country's annual legislative session.

"The positive turn of events proves that the dual track approach is the right way for settling the South China Sea issue," he said.

The approach features countries directly concerned resolving their specific disputes through negotiation, while China and ASEAN members working together to uphold regional stability.

The negotiations on the Code of Conduct (COC) in the South China Sea is picking up pace on a clear road map, according to Wang.

"China presented the goal of concluding the negotiations by 2021, which shows China's sincerity and commitment to this endeavor," Wang said.

As an update of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC), the COC is more suited to the regional needs, more effective in regulating the conduct of various parties, better for safeguarding the safety and freedom of navigation in the region, he noted.

China and ASEAN countries will stay focused, shield negotiation from interference, and speed up the consultation on the basis of consensus.