September 7, 2023
JAKARTA, Indonesia — Chinese Premier Li Qiang on Wednesday asserted before Southeast Asian leaders that his country has “preserved peace and tranquility in East Asia.”
Li made the remark even if tension is rising over the disputed South China Sea, especially as Beijing released its 2023 edition of a map – now called the 10-dash line – that includes Taiwan and most of the West Philippine Sea.
The Chinese Premier delivered a speech at the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) -China Summit being held in Jakarta. He said:
“We seek common ground while setting aside differences, properly handle disagreements through dialogue and consultation, and consistently deepen practical cooperation in traditional and non-traditional security views. We have preserved peace and tranquility in East Asia in a world fought with turbulence and change.”
“We both have a relentless pursuit of peace, we both have a strong aspiration for development, and we both take real actions to preserve regional stability.”
But Li did not mention in his opening remarks recent attacks in the West Philippine Sea, including the firing of water cannons at Philippine Coast Guard members in August.
Instead, Li touted the relationship between the Asean and China, which resulted in economic growth and mutual assistance in the region.
“China was the very first country to establish a strategic partnership with Asean, and took the lead to elevate the relationship to a comprehensive, strategic partnership in 2021, and that is the testament to our strategic trust between our two sides,” he said.
China’s behavior in the South China Sea has repeatedly earned the condemnation of the international community with the United States saying that China’s recent water cannon attack is a threat to regional security.
In July 2016, the Philippines won its arbirtation case against China. The United Nations-backed Permanent Court of Arbitration invalidated Beijing’s nine-dash line claim that overlaps within the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone.
But China has repeatedly ignored the ruling, which was based on international laws governing seas.