ASEAN-China hope for framework of code of conduct by first half of 2017: Yasay
The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and China are hoping to conclude by mid-2017 a framework for a code of conduct in the South China Sea, Foreign Secretary Perfecto Yasay said Wednesday.
“We will intensify efforts for the completion of the framework by the first half of the year,” Yasay told a press conference. “We continue to have discussions with officials and talks are ongoing.” The Philippines will chair ASEAN this year.
For years, the 10-member ASEAN bloc tried to forge a regional code with China that would prevent conflicting territorial claims in the region from erupting into tension.
Yasay said China cooperates in the discussions and welcomes completing a code of conduct.
“They are part of the discussions now. We are sitting down with China. China will be approving it. It is an ASEAN-China document, pursuant to 2002 Declaration on the Conduct of Parties on the South China Sea,” Yasay said.
The DOC is a non-binding political accord signed in 2002 by China and ASEAN members Philippines, Malaysia, Vietnam, Brunei, Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia, Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar that would precede a proposed regional Code of Conduct.
It discourages aggressive actions and bars constructing new structures in the contested region.
sked to provide details on the framework, Yasay said: “The matter of formulating and what will be covered in this code of conduct is a matter that is precisely being discussed right now. I would not want to preempt, revealing what is discussed because even I myself would not know it at this point. That parties that are talking about it are talking about it.”
“When the DOC was signed in 2002, the objective was to complete this with agreeing and formulating a code of conduct and that is what we are trying to achieve and I hope will be achieved by mid-2017,” Yasay said. DMS