Date
14 December 2017
Premier Li Keqiang adjusts his headset during a session of the ASEAN summit. Li said South China Sea territorial issues are off limits to non-claimants. Photo: Reuters
Premier Li Keqiang adjusts his headset during a session of the ASEAN summit. Li said South China Sea territorial issues are off limits to non-claimants. Photo: Reuters

Li Keqiang: South China Sea issue only for claimants

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang has warned that territorial disputes over the South China Sea should be directly resolved between claimants alone, government broadcaster RTHK reported Thursday.

Li said China will step up communication with Southeast Asian countries on a code of conduct over the disputed waters.

He said freedom of navigation and security in the South China Sea are guaranteed by international conventions.

Li called for stronger cooperation to ensure peaceful regional development.

“All parties should deepen efforts to push for regional integration to realize prosperity for all,” he told the ASEAN summit in Myanmar.

Also, he said China will ramp up free trade talks with ASEAN members.

And it will work with Japan, South Korea, Australia, New Zealand and India on a Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership agreement next year.

The trading bloc could create one of the world’s largest free trade areas, a single market of three billion people with a combined gross domestic product of about US$17 trillion, state news agency Xinhua reported.

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JZ/JP/RA

Freelance journalist

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