CHINA on Monday assured leaders of Southeast Asia it would be a “good neighbor” and that it would use diplomacy in engaging with members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean).
Speaking at the 20th Asean-China summit at the Philippine International Convention Center, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang said China remained committed to the region’s “shared future with common responsibility.”
“China always sees Asean as a priority in diplomacy. We are committed to work with Asean to be good neighbor, good friend and good partners and will always stand together rain or shine,” Li said.
Li pointed out that Asean-China relations was the most dynamic and substantive among all dialogue partners of the bloc, citing two important agreements: the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia and the Asean-China Free Trade Agreement.
“It is fair to say that friendly relations between China and Asean is a consensus of all Asean countries,” Li added.
On Monday, Asean and China announced the start of negotiations on the code of conduct (COC) over South China Sea based on a framework that was adopted in August
“We are pleased to announce that as a next step, Asean member states have agreed to officially commence negotiations with China on the COC,” a draft statement obtained by reporters said.