KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia and China have agreed to resolve disputes in the South China Sea by peaceful means, through friendly consultations and negotiations, in accordance with the universally recognised principles of international law, including the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.

Emphasising the importance of maintaining peace, security and stability in the South China Sea, the two sides will launch bilateral dialogues on the management of maritime issues as early as possible to foster maritime discussion and cooperation.

“The two sides will work together with other ASEAN countries to fully and effectively implement the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC) in its entirety and look forward to the early conclusion of an effective and substantive Code of Conduct in the South China Sea (COC),” according to a joint statement between China and Malaysia released today.

Besides that, the two countries shared the importance of preserving and maintaining peace and security in the Asia Pacific region, underpinned by respect for sovereignty and adherence to agreed rules and norms.

“The two countries agreed to support efforts to preserve Southeast Asia as a region free from nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction, while contributing to global efforts on disarmament, non-proliferation and peaceful uses of nuclear energy, in line with the Treaty on the Southeast Asia Nuclear Weapon-Free Zone (SEANWFZ),” it said.

In the statement, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim and Chinese Premier Li Qiang also agreed to enlarge cooperation in areas of the defence industry and enhance exchanges and cooperation on national security.

Both Anwar and Li reiterated opposition to any form of terrorism and will strengthen cooperation on law enforcement security and anti-terrorism, jointly address cross-border crime and contribute to regional peace and stability.

Li arrived in Malaysia for a three-day official visit on Tuesday, the third and last leg of his eight-day tour that also took him to New Zealand and Australia.

Li’s visit coincided with the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Malaysia and China, following the signing of the Joint Communiqué between second Prime Minister Tun Abdul Razak Hussein and then Chinese Premier Chou En Lai on May 31, 1974.