China, ASEAN Approve Draft South China Sea Code of Conduct

Marie Harrington
August 7, 2017

The arbitral tribunal also said that China violated Philippine rights by barring access to Scarborough Shoal - also called Bajo de Masinloc and Panatag Shoal by the Philippines - a traditional fishing ground for Filipino and Vietnamese fishers.

The Singapore-China relationship is in "good working order", said Singapore's Minister for Foreign Affairs Vivian Balakrishnan on Sunday (Aug 6).

Its sweeping claims overlap with those of ASEAN members Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia and Brunei, as well as Taiwan.

While foreign ministers of the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) meeting in Manila to celebrate the 50 anniversary of its establishment the consensus principles on which the body was founded find themselves under significant stress.

"Regarding what kind of COC will be produced, that is up to the discussion by the 11 parties of Asean plus China", he said.

China has always taken ASEAN as a priority in its foreign diplomacy and has always supported ASEAN in taking a central role in regional cooperation and a bigger role in dealing with worldwide and regional affairs, he said.

Southeast Asian countries and China adopted on Sunday the framework of a code of conduct in the South China Sea, setting the stage for long-sought negotiations to start on ways to ease tensions in regional waters.

China has proposed a three-step vision to step up consultations on the COC, Wang said.

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Wang made no reference to Beijing's reclamation activities, but said in a statement that "China is seeking cooperation with ASEAN for development in the South China Sea".

"China stands ready to work with all parties and under the framework of the UN Security Council to produce effective resolutions that is consistent with worldwide law regarding the situation in the Korean Peninsula", Wang added.

Also speaking to reporters, Mr Wang said the meeting went "very well". Only dialogue and negotiations are the correct way to address the Korean Peninsula issue. They urged the North to immediately and fully comply with its obligations under UN Security Council resolutions.

The six parties being alluded to are the US, China, Japan, Russia, North Korea and South Korea.

The primary focus is whether the code will be legally binding.

"What really matters is that the Foreign Minister of the DPRK is here, so he has the chance to listen to the views of those parties regarding the situation in the Korean Peninsula".

China claims almost all of the strategically vital sea, including waters approaching the coasts of Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia and Brunei. "We need to cherish the positive momentum in the South China Sea".

"As long as we commit to dialogue and consultation and worldwide law, including Unclos, we will be able to stabilize the situation and find a way out".

Other reports by TheSundaySentinel

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