Boao, Hainan.  In his remarks delivered in Boao Forum for Asia Annual Conference 2016 held in Boao, Hainan province of China, on Thursday (Mar. 24), Vice President Jusuf Kalla underscored the importance of keeping the South China Sea a peaceful part of the global commons. This is due to the fact that the area is vital for the world economic hubs involving ASEAN, Japan, China, and South Korea, with trade transaction amounting to US$5 trillion.

“Indonesia strongly believes that mutual respect and restraint are keys to maintaining peace and security in the South China Sea area. With this regards, I need to emphasize peaceful resolutions through political and diplomatic processes. I further ask all countries to abide by international laws, especially the 1982 UNCLOS (United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea),” the Vice President affirmed.

Mr Kalla then called on all parties involved in the territorial dispute to prevent the dispute from expanding further into an open conflict.

“We should transform potential conflicts into potential partnership, even though it is not that easy,” he said.

Boao Forum for Asia, in which many heads of states, senior officials, and CEOs of leading companies gathered, told the Vice President, is an ideal platform to start such an initiative.

“We need to focus on our common interest, away from our differences, to preserve Asia as the motor of global growth,” he said.

Concluding his remarks, Mr Kalla reiterated that the issue of South China Sea should be put forward in the forum’s discussion.

“If we can manage the situation in the area very well, it is not impossible it would be another new ‘Asian Economic Wonder’,” he said.

Vice President Jusuf Kalla attended Boao Forum for Asia for the second time after he participated in the forum in 2006 during his first tenure of Vice Presidency.