China gravely concerned over ASEAN statement on South China Sea

China “is gravely concerned about the statement of the 26th ASEAN Summit on the South China Sea issue,” Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hong Lei said as posted in the ministry’s official website.

The Chinese spokesperson said maritime disputes are not within ASEAN-China relationship. “China holds a clear and long-standing stance on the South China Sea issue, which is not an issue between China and ASEAN.”

“China stays committed to resolving the relevant disputes with countries directly concerned through negotiation and consultation on the basis of respecting the historical facts and the international law, and devotes itself to jointly safeguarding peace and stability of the South China Sea with ASEAN countries,” he added.

He also claimed that “China has exercised great restraint on the relevant issue.”

After the ASEAN Summit chiared by Malaysia, the chairman’s statement was released saying “we share the serious concerns expressed by some Leaders on the land reclamation being undertaken in the South China Sea, which has eroded trust and confidence and may undermine peace, security and stability in the South China Sea.”

The statement also called parties in the Declaration on the Conduct in the South China Sea “to build, maintain and enhance mutual trust and confidence; exercising self-restraint in the conduct of activities; to not to resort to threat or use of force; and for the parties concerned to resolve their differences and disputes through peaceful means, in accordance with international law including the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.”