In his speech at the EAS meeting, China’s Premier Li Qiang reportedly pointed out that China and ASEAN countries are actively advancing consultations on the Code of Conduct in the South China Sea.
“Li Qiang also expressed hope that countries outside the region fully respect the efforts made by regional countries to negotiate the rules of the South China Sea and maintain peace and stability in the region,” reported CGTN, a Chinese state-run foreign-language news channel.
It added that Mr Li also urged the EAS to remain committed to its role and to play a greater part in helping to achieve long-term stability and lasting prosperity in the region, amid new challenges and new dynamics.
To do so, he said the EAS should focus on promoting development and energising regional growth, by “devoting more wisdom and strength” on advancing cooperation.
Second, he said EAS countries should better play the role of strategic dialogue so as to enhance mutual understanding and trust among all parties.
Earlier on Wednesday, Mr Li had said major powers must keep their differences under control and avoid “a new Cold War”, in a thinly veiled reference to the US.
“Disagreements and disputes may arise between countries due to misperceptions, diverging interests or external interferences,” said Mr Li, who was making his maiden regional showing since taking the premier post in March this year.
“To keep differences under control, what is essential now is to oppose picking sides, to oppose bloc confrontation and to oppose a new Cold War.”
China has expressed concerns about the establishment of US-backed alliances since it is facing disputes with other countries. For example, Beijing is currently in a standoff with Manila over the South China Sea.
Earlier this month, naval ships from the Philippines and the US carried out a joint sail in parts of the South China Sea, after the former and China clashed in the waters a few weeks ago.
Wrapping up the summit as host, Indonesian President Joko Widodo said on Thursday that fellow leaders, despite facing a difficult situation, managed to maintain peace and stability.
“In the forums, I did, in fact, state that every leader present has an equally big responsibility not to create new conflicts, not to create new tensions.
“And at the same time, we also have the responsibility to lower heated tensions,” said Jokowi, as the president is popularly known.
He added that leaders need to create space for dialogues to ease tensions and foster communication.
“I can guarantee you, if we are unable to manage differences, we will be destroyed,” he said.