Singapore, China seek to reduce dispute risks in East Sea

Singapore and China are working on some exploratory ideas to minimise risks of unplanned encounters in the East Sea, said Singaporean Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishman on February 29.

Two sides will continue to work on these ideas in the next few months, he said after meeting with his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi.

As a coordinator of ASEAN-China relations, Singapore will focus on building a Code of Conduct (COC) in the East Sea, which will set guidelines for parties involved in disputes to manage tensions and avoid conflict.

Balakrishman said that they agreed to push forward the negotiations on COC formation.

They reaffirmed the importance of peace and stability and freedom of navigation and overflight in the East Sea. This is an essential lifeline for China and all ASEAN countries because so much of their trade and energy flow through this area, according to the Singaporean Minister.

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For his part, Wang Yi affirmed China’s stance on the East Sea and said that Beijing is willing to work with ASEAN to carry out the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea (DOC) while expediting the consultations on the COC.

China and ASEAN member states, as littoral countries of the East Sea, will continue to maintain peace and sustainability including freedom of navigation in the waters, Wang said.

During his two-day visit to China, which began on February 29, the Singaporean Foreign Minister met Chinese Vice President Li Yuanchao and is scheduled to meet State Councilor Yang Jiechi and Minister of the Communist Party of China Central Committee’s International Liaison Department Song Tao.


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