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China voices "serious concern" over ASEAN statement on South China Sea

BEIJING, April 28 (Xinhua) -- China's Foreign Ministry expressed "serious concern" over the ASEAN's statement on South China Sea affairs on Tuesday.

Ministry spokesman Hong Lei's remarks came after the Chairman's Statement at the 26th ASEAN Summit said "we share the serious concerns expressed by some Leaders on the land reclamation being undertaken in the South China Sea."

The ASEAN statement also "reaffirmed the importance of maintaining peace, stability, security and freedom of navigation in and over-flight over the South China Sea."

Hong said in a press briefing that China's construction activities in the Nansha islands are totally within the scope of China's sovereignty. It is unimpeachable, he said.

He stressed that there is no problem with the freedom of navigation in or flying over the South China Sea under international law.

China is firmly opposed to the actions of an "individual country" kidnapping the ASEAN and undermining the China-ASEAN friendship out of its private ends, Hong said.

The South China Sea issue is not an issue between China and the ASEAN as a whole, Hong stressed, urging relevant sides to work with China to safeguard peace, stability in the South China Sea and the China-ASEAN ties.

China and the ASEAN should enhance strategic communications on the basis of mutual respect and mutual trust so as to achieve mutual benefit and win-win results, Hong added.

The ASEAN statement also urged intensified consultations on the Code of Conduct in the South China Sea (COC) to ensure the expeditious establishment of an effective COC.

Hong said China and the ASEAN countries are actively pushing forward the consultations on the COC so as to establish the COC based on consensus at an early date.

The ASEAN Summit was held on April 26 to 27 in Kuala Lumpur and Langkawi, Malaysia.

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