VIENTIANE, July 25 (Xinhua) -- Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi has expressed China's appreciation for Laos' objective and just position regarding the South China Sea issue during a meeting with his Lao counterpart here.
Meeting Lao Foreign Minister Saleumxay Kommasith late Sunday on the sidelines of the 49th ASEAN Foreign Ministers' Meeting held here, Wang said China-ASEAN ties has made new progress since Laos took the ASEAN chairmanship this year, and China appreciated the objective and just position of Laos on the South China Sea issue.
The Chinese government's stance on the South China Sea issue and its legitimate claims have been winning increasing support worldwide since the release of the so-called tribunal award, while more and more countries and peoples began to ask questions regarding the legitimacy and authority of the ad hoc tribunal and its ruling, Wang said.
Many ASEAN member countries believed that the South China Sea arbitration is not a problem between China and the ASEAN, and therefore should not be a stumbling bloc to the development of the China-ASEAN relations, Wang said.
China is willing to support Laos as the host of the foreign ministers' meeting to ensure the success of the meeting, Wang told Saleumxay.
The Lao foreign minister said Laos, which is a strategic partner of China, would play its part to promote the sound development of China-Laos as well as the China-ASEAN relations.
The South China Sea arbitration has already caused damages to the stability of the ASEAN and the region, and most of the ASEAN members do not want the issue to fester any further, said the Lao diplomat.
As the chair of the ASEAN this year, the Laos will coordinate with various parties to maintain the unity of the ASEAN, and serve the overall interests of the China-ASEAN ties, Saleumxay said.