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Analysts: China and ASEAN have positive ties far greater than South China Sea disputes

Reporter: Li Sien, Zhang Chuanlu 丨 CCTV.com

09-06-2016 10:53 BJT

Full coverage: The South China Sea Issue

Full coverage: Chinese Premier Visits Laos, Attends East Asia Summit

China and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations are celebrating 25 years of dialogue partnership. Although there are disagreements, including territory in the South China Sea, analysts say the positives of the relationship are far greater than the disputes. Our correspondent Rian Maelzer reports from Vientiane, Laos, where the 11th East Asia Summit will be held this week.

The South China Sea territorial disputes have been a point of friction not only between ASEAN countries and China, but also within ASEAN as the 10 members have struggled to reach any consensus on the issue.

"But analysts say the dispute should not be allowed to cloud relations …since it doesn’t reflect the generally friendly and increasingly close ties between the parties," said Rian Maelzer.

Dr. Huang Haitao from Zhou Enlai school of government, said, "That is just an anomaly, and china and all the asean countries, except the South China Sea disputes, there is no major disputes between china and all the asean countries."

Abdul Majid Khan, former Malaysian ambassador to China, said, "These differences should not be exaggerated and we should put our minds, our diplomatic skills and I think for a start because of recent developments both sides should start step by step to regain the mutual trust and the confidence."

There’s no doubt that at recent summits, the South China Sea issue has tended to overshadow issues such the negotiations of a Regional Comprehensive Economic partnership between ASEAN and six other countries, including China.

Professor Liu Aming from Shanghai academy of social sciences, said, "There are many many issues that is much much more important than the South China Sea dispute to the asean people, ASEAN countries and also to china."

"On Wednesday, the ASEAN-plus China meeting will also be a celebration of 25 years of dialogue partnership between the two. So it’s a great opportunity for all sides to focus on the positives of that relationship," Rian Maelzer said.

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