BEIJING -- Related parties in the South China Sea held their 14th senior officials' meeting last week, and a biannual bilateral consultation mechanism (BCM) between China and the Philippines was announced.
The progress demonstrates once again that only through consultation and dialog can peace and stability be maintained in the region.
During the first China-Philippines BCM meeting, both sides reaffirmed the importance of maintaining and promoting peace and stability, freedom of navigation in, and flight above, the South China Sea, addressing disputes by peaceful means, through friendly consultations and negotiations by sovereign states directly concerned.
The achievements indicate that the South China Sea issue is returning to a positive track. It also shows the current Philippine government's positive, friendly and constructive attitude.
China has been working with ASEAN countries since the 1990s to lay down rules and order on the South China Sea. The hard work paid off when all parties signed the Declaration on the Conduct of the Parties in 2002, which outlines the most important principles in the management of disputes on the South China Sea.
History and facts have proven that countries in the region are fully capable of handling the South China Sea issue themselves. Any outside noise should be drowned out.
At this critical juncture, China is committed to working alongside with regional countries to settle disputes with mutual trust and confidence, and more joint efforts are expected in shaping regional maritime order.