Guidelines on the South China Sea adopted by China and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) demonstrate once again that dialogue and consultation are the golden rule for maintaining regional peace and stability.[Special coverage]
During the just-concluded China-ASEAN leaders' meeting in Laos, China and the regional bloc issued a joint statement on the application of the Code for Unplanned Encounters at Sea (CUES) in the South China Sea as well as a guideline on a senior diplomat hotline to cope with maritime emergencies.
Countries in the region will benefit most from peace in the South China Sea and suffer the most from chaos in the area.
History and facts have repeatedly shown that the South China Sea can only be peaceful and stable if countries in the region hold the key to fixing the problems.
Some countries outside the region, displaying a Cold War mentality, have attempted to meddle in issues in the region, breaking the original regional balance and sowing discord between China and ASEAN members in recent years.
With the joint efforts of China and the ASEAN, the South China Sea situation has cooled down as both sides have worked together to eliminate interference and properly handle issues according to the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC) and the "dual-track approach."
The dual-track approach advocates that disputes should be resolved peacefully through negotiation between the parties directly concerned, and China and ASEAN members should work together to maintain peace and stability in the South China Sea.
Southeast Asian leaders speaking at the East Asia Summit on Thursday supported the efforts by China and ASEAN members to implement the DOC.
Running counter to the trend of solving disputes through dialogue and consultation, only two countries outside the region proposed pushing the so-called South China Sea "arbitration" at the summit.
Countries in Southeast Asia have realized that the key to solving the South China Sea issue should be in their own hands and they should return to seeking complete and effective implementation of the DOC and solving the issue through dialogue and consultation.
China will always be ready to work with other parties to translate challenges in East Asia into an opportunity for stability and sustained prosperity.
It is time to shed the Cold War mentality that relies on bilateral defense cooperation and military alliances to safeguard East Asian peace. Now we must create a new Asian security concept that is "common, comprehensive, cooperative and sustainable."