A peaceful South China Sea is a blessing for all countries, whereas turbulence serves no one's interests. China, as the biggest littoral state and a main user of the shipping lanes in the South China Sea, hopes to see peace, stability and freedom of navigation and overflight there more than any other country.
With the joint efforts of China and ASEAN countries, the situation in the South China Sea has notably eased and is showing a positive momentum. The relevant parties have come back to the right track of resolving disputes through consultation and negotiation and improved their relations with countries concerned.
In particular, China and ASEAN countries have been fully and effectively implementing the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC), and agreed on the framework of a Code of Conduct (COC) last May. Yesterday, ASEAN leaders and I announced the commencement of the next-step consultations on the COC text. Such progress is indeed heartening. It speaks volumes about the shared desire of regional countries to properly handle differences through dialogue and consultation for peace and stability in the South China Sea. It also fully demonstrates that regional countries have the confidence, wisdom and ability to properly address the South China Sea issue and make the South China Sea a sea of peace, friendship and cooperation.
Going forward, China will continue to work with ASEAN countries to fully and effectively implement the DOC, deepen maritime cooperation and actively pursue the COC consultation, for the early conclusion of the COC on the basis of consensus. We hope non-littoral countries will respect the efforts of regional countries to this end.
The 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China held last month has clearly articulated China's firm commitment to peaceful development and to the development of friendship and cooperation with all other countries on the basis of the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence. It has also called for vigorous promotion of international cooperation on the Belt and Road Initiative, continued participation by China in the reform and development of the global governance system, and efforts to forge a new form of international relations featuring mutual respect, fairness, justice and win-win cooperation, with a view to building a community of shared future for mankind.
These policies and objectives can be implemented in Asia, China's neighborhood, first and foremost. In keeping with the principle of amity, sincerity, mutual benefit and inclusiveness, China will continue to implement the policy of building friendship and partnership with its neighbors and the win-win strategy of opening-up, and pursue its own development and security in the broader context of promoting development and security for all in the region. China's development will only bring opportunities for the development and prosperity of East Asia and the world, and will not pose a threat to any country. China wishes to work with all other EAS members to uphold the good momentum of regional peace, development and cooperation, advance the building of the East Asia Economic Community, and open new prospects for East Asian cooperation and development.