Japan expects legally binding COC in South China and in accordance with international law
As Southeast Asian countries and China adopted the framework of a code of conduct in South China Sea, Japan said it expects the COC to be legally binding and in accordance with international law.
In a press briefing late Sunday, Japan Deputy Press Secretary Toshihide Ando, quoting Foreign Minister Taro Kono, reiterated Tokyo's "great concern" of China's continued building of large scale outposts in the South China Sea.
"Japan takes note that the framework of code of conduct was approved in the ASEAN-China foreign ministers' meeting. We expect that discussions will proceed in accordance with international law and on the premise that no militarization and self-restraint will be maintained," Ando said.
During a press conference earlier in the day, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said discussion on the COC with ASEAN leaders will officially start in November if "there is no major disruption from outside parties."
The framework COC, which was adopted on Sunday during the ASEAN-China foreign ministers' meeting, was not a legally-binding document. It is just a mere outline on how to proceed with the COC.
Kono expressed hope a "legally-binding and effective COC" will be finalized by the ASEAN and China.
Japan has its own territorial dispute with China in East Sea.
Ando said Kono, during his participation in the ASEAN-Japan foreign ministers' meeting, reiterated Tokyo's stance pressure should be exerted against North Korea to abandon its nuclear and missile launches.
"Now is not the time for dialogue, but time to increase effective pressure on North Korea so that they will take action toward denuclearization," said Kono, who just assumed the post on Thursday.
He said Japan welcomes the new UN Security Council resolution imposing fresh sanctions on North Korea following its two long-range missile tests last month.
He said every nation must implement the UN Security Council resolution. Celerina Monte/DMS