On Aug. 5, 2013, when answering questions from the journalists, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said that China and ASEAN countries have agreed to hold consultations on moving forward the process of the “Code of Conduct in the South China Sea (COC)” under the framework of implementing the “Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC)” to jointly safeguard regional peace and stability of the South China sea.
China has always taken a positive and open attitude to the formulation of COC, and at the same time, has noticed that there came out some different ideas from some parties concerned on how to promote the process of COC. China views as follows:
First, reasonable expectations. Some countries are talking about “quick fix”, like reaching consensus on COC within one day. It is an attitude neither realistic nor serious. COC involves multilateral interests from different parties, and its formulation is a process of sophisticated and complex coordination.
Second, consensus through negotiations. We should refer to the experience of reaching DOC to move forward COC. To seek consensus as broadly as possible and to keep the comfort of all parties in mind. Wills of individual country or of a few countries should not be imposed on other countries, as an old Chinese saying, nothing forcibly done is going to be agreeable.
Third, elimination of interference. China and ASEAN countries tried several times to discuss on COC before, but got stuck due to some interferences. All parties concerned should do more to help moving forward the process of COC, and create the necessary conditions and atmosphere, not going the opposite way.
Fourth, step-by-step approach. The formulation of COC is stipulated in DOC. COC is not to replace DOC, much less to ignore DOC and go its own way. The top priority now is to continue to implement DOC, especially promoting maritime cooperation. In this process, we should formulate the road map for COC through consultations, and push it forward in a step-by-step approach.