China, ASEAN agree on code of conduct framework in South China Sea

After long years of consultations and discussions on the implementation of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC), China and Association of Southeast Asian Nation (ASEAN) senior officials have finally wrapped up talks on the Code of the Conduct (COC) draft framework. The reef is one of the several Chinese-controlled features in the South China Sea where China has carried out reclamation work. In recent months, however, China and ASEAN appear to have made swift progress.

The two parties exchanged views on the importance of addressing South China Sea issues, incidents and disputes in "an appropriate manner", the statement said.

Duterte said China did not want to bring up the arbitral ruling at a time when other claimant countries, like Vietnam, might also decide to file cases against it at the arbitration tribunal.

Report says the measure is part of a response that began in May 2014, when Vietnamese divers installed large numbers of fishing nets in the Paracel Islands.

On April 30, a statement at the conclusion of the 30th ASEAN Summit in Manila pointedly dropped references to "land reclamation and militarization" in the South China Sea that had previously been included.

But China refused to turn it into a legally binding code of conduct, using the intervening time to build its artificial islands.

"No matter what the final draft agreement looks like, the devil will be in working out the details", said Storey, foreseeing a long, hard negotiation on the final document.

Meanwhile, Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Liu Zhenmin noted on Chinese state television that the framework agreement took the concerns of all parties into account.

However, Liu said the agreement laid a "solid foundation" for further negotiations. China's foreign ministry said the document had been agreed upon, but gave no details of its contents, according to a report by Reuters.

Philippines welcomed the completion of the drafting of the framework.

Chinese and ASEAN officials will meet in August in the Philippines to submit the agreed framework.

Tuejeh said an investigation is underway to find out why the weaponry, purchased from China in 2003, malfunctioned.

Beijing has been so bellicose about its claim on the disputed islands that it simply ignored a ruling on South China Sea which went against it at the Permanent Court of Arbitration at The Hague.

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte attends the opening plenary of the World Economic Forum on ASEAN at a hotel in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, May 11, 2017. The Philippine government maintained that it owns the territory where Filipino troops and villagers have lived for decades.

"Both sides reviewed their experiences on the South China Sea issue".

Representatives of the Philippines and China met Friday in Guiyang, China, for the first session of their joint consultation mechanism for resolving South China Sea disputes.

  • Zachary Reyes