ASEAN more determined to finalize COC in South China Sea

21 February, 2017, 23:49 | Author: Valerie Burke

Manalo noted that ASEAN was "concerned on the developments in the South China Sea" and wanted to defuse the tension, referring to recent developments in the disputed area.

"The Asean members have been unanimous in their expression of concern about what they see as a militarisation of the region", Yasay told reporters on Tuesday, following a meeting of foreign ministers of other Asean member on the Philippine island of Boracay. However, the Indonesian Foreign Ministry said Indonesian Foreign Minister Marsudi and Myanmar Deputy Foreign Minister Kyaw Tin discussed the latest situation in Rakhine, as well as Indonesia's plan to establish an interfaith dialogue there.

"They reaffirmed the importance of the need to enhance mutual trust and confidence, exercising self-restraint in the conduct of activities, and avoiding actions that may further complicate the situation, and pursuing peaceful resolution of disputes, including through full respect for legal and diplomatic processes, without resorting to the threat or use of force, in accordance with the universally recognised principles of global law, including the 1982 UNCLOS", Yasay said.

The Ministers also underscored the importance of the full and effective implementation of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC) in its entirety, and efforts within the ASEAN-China process to complete a framework of the Code of Conduct (COC), in order to facilitate the early adoption of the COC.

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations hopes to strike a deal with China on a "framework" for a code of conduct in the South China Sea by the middle of this year, though some members of the regional grouping appear to be more enthusiastic about the idea than others.

"We would like to come up with the framework to further promote bilateral negotiations".

Philippine Foreign Secretary Perfecto Yasay Jr said he wants to speak with his American counterpart, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, as he eyes a "closer relationship" with the US.

However, the DFA chief admitted that there is still no telling whether China will cooperate in the completion of the COC framework.

CC BY-SA 2.0)BORACAY Island, Aklan-The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) is more resolute to finalize a Code of Conduct (COC) in the South China Sea (SCS). Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam also have claims.

He said demilitarisation would be a key component of any ASEAN-China code of conduct, but it was too soon to say whether Beijing's dismantling of its weapons installations would be a prerequisite. "But we do need to make sure, to the best extent possible, that we maintain an oasis of peace and stability in this part of the world", he said yesterday on the sidelines of a two-day Asean foreign ministers' meeting here, the first to be hosted by the Philippines as Asean chair. The Philippines assumed the chairmanship of Asean this year.

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