Peaceful solution to maritime disputes

BRUNEI Darussalam and China yesterday reaffirmed their commitment to find a peaceful resolution to disputes, including maritime issues, between China and several members of the Asean regional group.

“The two sides believed that the mainstream of China-Asean relations are good-neighbourly friendship and mutually beneficial cooperation. China and Asean, as strategic partners, have the ability to maintain peace and stability in the region,” stated a joint press release by Brunei Darussalam and China last night.

The press release was issued after a meeting between His Royal Highness Prince Mohamed Bolkiah, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, and Wang Yi, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the People’s Republic of China, yesterday at the Balai Penghadapan, Bukit Kayangan. Brunei Darussalam is the current Chair of Asean.

At the invitation of His Royal Highness Prince Mohamed Bolkiah, Wang Yi visited Brunei Darussalam, according to the press release which was issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

The press release said, “China reiterated that it fully supported Brunei Darussalam in hosting the important regional meetings as the rotating Chair of Asean in 2013, and supported Asean’s central role in regional cooperation.

“The two sides agreed to take the opportunity of the 10th anniversary of the China-Asean strategic partnership to intensify exchanges; increase mutual trust; and advance cooperation vigorously in important areas such as connectivity, maritime affairs and regional economic integration thus contributing to the prosperity and development of the region.

“The current disputes are not an issue between China and Asean and they should be peacefully resolved through friendly consultations and negotiations between the parties directly concerned.

“All parties should implement the Declaration on the Conduct of the Parties in the South China Sea (DOC) in a comprehensive and effective way, carry out and strengthen maritime practical cooperation, advance the Code of Conduct (COC) process in a step by step manner during the implementation of the DOC, and work together for the adoption of the COC on the basis of consensus. In this process, all parties should increase communication, build consensus, promote mutual trust and confidence.

“The two sides agreed to continue to hold the SOM on implementation of the DOC; hold the Joint Working Group meeting on the implementation of the DOC in Thailand in May this year; and discuss how to advance the COC process under this framework.

“The two sides also agreed to establish an Eminent Persons and Experts Group (EPEG) on COC and that discussions under the EPEG and the Joint Working Group would reinforce and complement each other.

“The two sides spoke highly of His Majesty’s (the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam) state visit to China in April 2013 and agreed to implement in full the important agreement reached between the leaders of the two countries.

“The two sides expressed their belief that the establishment of the strategic cooperative relationship between the two countries represented a milestone.

“The two sides recognised the important progress made in energy cooperation and agreed to actively advance exchanges and cooperation in economic, trade, security, cultural and other areas to enrich these strategic cooperative relationships.”

Earlier, a press release from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, stated that His Royal Highness Prince Mohamed Bolkiah hosted a luncheon for Wang Yi.

In attendance at the meeting and the luncheon was Her Royal Highness Princess Hajah Masna, Ambassador-at-Large at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade. - Borneo Bulletin (5 May 2013)