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President Xi said Thursday that China and Southeast Asian countries should stick to peaceful means to resolve their disputes in the South China Sea.
“The two sides should always stick to peaceful means and properly handle the issues through equal dialogue and friendly negotiation in order to safeguard bilateral relations and regional stability,” said the Chinese leader.
The South China Sea is one of the world’s most strategically important waterways and is exceedingly rich with minerals.
Earlier in June this year, China and ASEAN had agreed to develop and abide by a model code of conduct governing the troubled region of the South China Sea.
China’s increased engagement with ASEAN comes in the backdrop of the much talked about American Asia pivot for which US Secretary of State John Kerry and Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel have tried to rally support from the ten countries that form ASEAN.
China’s maritime dispute with the Philippines had prompted the latter to come to an agreement with the US to develop its Palawan Island into a US military base.
Meanwhile, Xi on Wednesday proposed to establish an Asian infrastructure investment bank to promote interconnectivity and economic integration in the region.
Xi put forward the proposal during talks with his Indonesian counterpart, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.
The new bank, he added, will cooperate with existing multilateral development banks to make full use of their respective advantages and jointly promote the sustained and stable growth of the Asian economy, Xi said.
“Both China and Indonesia are major developing countries and important emerging market economies with regional and global influence”, noted the Chinese president.
Beijing stands ready to offer financial support for infrastructure construction in developing countries in the region, including members of the ASEAN, Xi said.
Xi arrived here earlier in the day for a state visit to Indonesia, the first leg of his maiden trip to Southeast Asia since he assumed presidency in March.
The BRICS Post with inputs from Agencies