Premier Li Keqiang called on Tuesday for China and member countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations to expedite consultations on the expected Code of Conduct in the South China Sea and proactively conduct maritime cooperation.
Speaking via video link at the China-ASEAN leaders” meeting, the premier said the peace and development of the South China Sea fits into the aspirations and interests of both sides.
He noted consultations on the Code of Conduct have reached positive progress after talks resumed last year.
As next year marked the 20th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea, China stands ready to work with ASEAN to speed up the relevant talks and strive to reach agreement on the document at an earlier date, Li said.
The premier also urged the two sides to work toward a higher level of regional integration, saying the Chinese side will work with ASEAN to research the possibility of upgrading the China-ASEAN Free Trade Agreement.
The two sides will focus on emerging sectors, including digital and green economy, and develop a more mutually beneficial, inclusive and open bilateral and regional trade partnership, he said.
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