“Every country has the right to uphold an independent foreign policy and develop relations with other countries to advance its national interests,” Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Geng Shuang said on February 18 when asked regarding Philippines’ move to terminate the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) with United States.
He explained that it is also China’s belief that exchange and cooperation between countries should not only benefit those involved, but also advance regional and global peace and stability.
“As to how the decision will affect the situation in the South China Sea, I want to point out that currently, with the concerted efforts of China and ASEAN countries, the situation in the South China Sea has been basically stable,” he added.
He also reiterated that China and ASEAN countries are committed to full and effective implementation of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC).
“In the meantime, we have been advancing consultations on a code of conduct (COC). Countries concerned insist on bilateral channels to manage differences and pursue practical cooperation,” he noted.
He also said that China stands ready to work with relevant regional countries to maintain stability in the South China Sea and turn it into a sea of peace, friendship and cooperation.