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China, ASEAN countries maintain effective communication on South China Sea: Chinese premier

PHNOM PENH, Nov. 19 (Xinhua) -- Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao said here on Monday that China and the member countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) have maintained effective communication at various levels on the South China Sea issue.

Ten years ago, China and the ASEAN countries signed the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC) and reached a series of important principles and consensus, Wen said at the 15th China-ASEAN summit.

These important principles and consensus included: jointly maintaining and enhancing the regional peace and stability of the South China Sea, solving territorial and jurisdictional disputes through consultations between sovereign countries directly involved, not taking actions that would complicate and enlarge the South China Sea issue, and opposing internationalization of the issue, the premier said.

Over the years, peace and stability have remained in the South China Sea region, which fully proves that China's dialogue and communication channels with the ASEAN countries are effective and should be cherished, he said.

China appreciates the fact that the ASEAN members have attached great importance to those principles and consensus, and China has high regard for ASEAN's position of non-interference in territorial and sovereign disputes between countries, Wen said.

China will continue to have candid dialogues with the ASEAN countries and implement the DOC in a comprehensive and effective way, Wen said.

China will work to continuously promote mutual trust, actively push forward cooperation and better safeguard the overall situation of regional peace and stability, he said.

China has recently agreed with the ASEAN countries to accumulate consensus through deep dialogue and create conditions to start talks on a Code of Conduct in the South China Sea (CoC), which is a natural extension of the DOC, Wen said.

The Chinese premier also hoped that Thailand, as China-ASEAN coordinator, could continue to play a constructive role.

ASEAN leaders, at a summit on Sunday, agreed not to internationalize the South China Sea issue, Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen said at the Monday summit.

The Cambodian prime minister also said the ASEAN leaders have agreed to implement the DOC in a comprehensive manner and continue to conduct consultations in line with the principles outlined in the DOC so as to increase mutual trust and create conditions for working out the CoC.

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