In the Chairman's Statement of the 23rd ASEAN Summit issued here Wednesday, ASEAN said "We reaffirmed the collective commitments under the DOC to ensuring the resolution of disputes by peaceful means in accordance with universally recognized principles of international law, including the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, without resorting to the threat or use of force, while exercising self-restraint in the conduct of activities."

The statement said ASEAN looked forward to intensifying official consultations with China on the development of the Code of Conduct in the South China Sea (COC) with a view to its early conclusion.

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang said Wednesday at the 16th ASEAN- China Summit here that "We must not let the question of the South China Sea affect the overall China-ASEAN relations." 

"We all agree that disputes in the South China Sea should be addressed through consultation and negotiation between parties directly concerned. China and ASEAN countries should work together to maintain peace and stability in the South China Sea and jointly foster a favorable and more enabling environment for peaceful settlement of the disputes. Pending a settlement, parties to the dispute should work actively for joint development," said Li.

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