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China warns against rush to set code of conduct in South China Sea


HANOI, Aug. 5 (Xinhua) -- The envisaged Code of Conduct in the South China Sea (COC) cannot be set in a rush as it concerns the interests of many countries and lots of work is required, said Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi on Monday.

China and members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) have agreed to work on COC within the framework of the implementation of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC), Wang told reporters.

China has been positive and open to COC and have taken note of positions of concerned parties, said Wang, who is in Vietnam for a visit.

China believes that there should be no rush. Certain countries are hoping that COC can be agreed on overnight. These countries are having unrealistic expectation and taking unserious attitudes, said Wang.

COC concerns the interests of various parties and its formulation demands a heavy load of coordination work, he said.

Second, said Wang, such a code of conduct must be consensus-based. China and ASEAN members should draw experience from the formulation of DOC and seek the broadest consensus that would take care of the interests of all parties. No individual countries should impose their will on others, said the Chinese foreign minister.

In addition, China and ASEAN members should overcome disturbances. China and ASEAN members had discussed COC for several times in the past but those efforts all failed due to disturbances from certain parties, he said.

Instead of making disturbances, parties should make efforts that are conducive to the process so as to create necessary conditions and atmosphere, said Wang.

He suggested that an incremental approach be taken. DOC, which stipulates the formulation of COC, should not be replaced by COC, said the foreign minister. DOC shall by no means be bypassed in the formulation of COC, he added.

What is important now is the implementation of DOC, particularly its provisions for maritime cooperation, he stressed.

During the implementation of DOC, China and ASEAN members could negotiate a "roadmap" for COC and move forward step by step, said Wang.

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