Driven by our shared aspiration for a peaceful and stable South China Sea, China and ASEAN countries have made joint efforts to advance the consultations on the Code of Conduct. Last year, the Chinese side proposed that we conclude the consultations in three years' time, which was positively received. China and ASEAN countries are now working toward concluding the COC by the end of 2021 or even earlier. We have completed the first reading ahead of schedule last July, and the second reading has commenced. Overall, the process has been sound and smooth. The COC is aimed at enhancing trust, boosting cooperation and managing differences. It should steer clear of territorial and jurisdictional disputes between countries concerned and serve as an institutional safeguard for peace and stability in the South China Sea. As important regional rules to be jointly formulated, observed and implemented by the 11 parties of China and ASEAN countries, the COC reflects the common interests and concerns of the 11 countries. The COC consultations should be built on the DOC, and deliver a more substantive, effective and operable document, which is aimed at better upholding peace and stability in the South China Sea and promoting cooperation among regional countries. Countries from outside the region, who are not direct parties to the South China Sea issue, should show real respect and support for the efforts of the regional countries.
This year marks the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China. The past seven decades have witnessed a momentous journey for our country, marked by solid steps forward and remarkable progress toward prosperity of the country, renewal of the nation and happiness of its people. These achievements have been made possible by the hard work and perseverance of the Chinese people. China's openness to and cooperation with the rest of the world has also been an important contributing factor. The Chinese economy has been deeply integrated into the world economy and its growth has created tremendous opportunities for other countries' development. Going forward, China will keep to the path of peaceful development and the win-win strategy of opening-up, deepen friendship and cooperation with all countries, and work with the rest of the international community for building a new type of international relations and a community with a shared future for mankind.
East Asia is our shared home whose prosperity requires our joint efforts. China is ready to work with all other countries to expand common ground and enhance cooperation for a better future of our region, a future of peace and stability, economic progress, and a better life for our people.