Credit by © The Straits Times
China, ASEAN Progress on Framework Deal on Disputed Sea
POLITICS & DIPLOMACY Beyond

China, ASEAN Progress on Framework Deal on Disputed Sea

China and Southeast Asian countries have made progress in talks on a code of conduct for the disputed South China Sea, although the issue on whether it is legally binding still remains pending, the Philippine acting foreign minister said on Tuesday.

China claims almost the entire waterway, through which about $5 trillion in sea-borne goods pass every year. Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam also have claims.

"We have made good progress on coming up with a framework for a code on conduct with China," Philippine Acting Foreign Minister Enrique Manalo said, adding the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and China were more than halfway through identifying the contents.

Foreign Affairs Secretary Enrique Manalo said Tuesday that China and southeast Asian nations had made progress in talks on a code of conduct for the disputed South China Sea although the issue on whether it would be legally binding was still pending. Image: AP/Aaron Favila
Foreign Affairs Secretary Enrique Manalo said Tuesday that China and southeast Asian nations had made progress in talks on a code of conduct for the disputed South China Sea although the issue on whether it would be legally binding was still pending. Image: AP/Aaron Favila

 

"From a scale of 1-10, we are at the upper level. Remember, we were starting from zero in January. There have been a number of elements agreed and we would definitely have a framework on which to embark a serious negotiation on a code of conduct."

Negotiators from China and ASEAN have met in Indonesia and Cambodia in the last two months to try to come up with a final draft, which could be approved ahead of the August meeting by Southeast Asian foreign ministers in Manila.

“I think China still believes, is still in the position that it shouldn’t be legally binding. Frankly, from a negotiating point of view, I think it’s a little bit early to say,” Manalo added.

Thailand's Deputy Secretary of Ministry of Foreign Affairs Vitavas Srivihok (L-R) Vietnam's Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Le Hoai Trung, China's Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Liu Zhenmin, Singapore's Permanent Secretary of Ministry of Foreign Affairs Chee Wee Kiong and Philippines' Senior Officials Meeting Leader from Department of Foreign Affairs Enrique A. Manalo leave after a group photo at the 11th ASEAN-China senior officials meeting of the Implementation of the Declaration of the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea in Singapore April 27, 2016. Image: REUTERS/Edgar Su
Thailand's Deputy Secretary of Ministry of Foreign Affairs Vitavas Srivihok (L-R) Vietnam's Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Le Hoai Trung, China's Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Liu Zhenmin, Singapore's Permanent Secretary of Ministry of Foreign Affairs Chee Wee Kiong and Philippines' Senior Officials Meeting Leader from Department of Foreign Affairs Enrique A. Manalo leave after a group photo at the 11th ASEAN-China senior officials meeting of the Implementation of the Declaration of the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea in Singapore April 27, 2016. Image: REUTERS/Edgar Su

 

As the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) works to complete the framework by June, talks with Beijing are set next month to tackle “issues of concern regarding the South China Sea,” including China’s militarization of several manmade islands in the Spratly Islands – which the Philippines, US and Vietnam have objected to.

The bilateral mechanism is one of two dialogues held by China with claimant states. The other is with Vietnam.

US President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping are expected to discuss Chinese ambitions in the South China Sea when they meet tomorrow and Friday at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida.


Source : Reuters | The Philippine Star Global

Report Article

Why you report this article?

ProudProud0%
SadSad0%
ExcitedExcited0%
IndifferentIndifferent100%
InspiredInspired0%
AmazedAmazed0%
Next