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Asean foreign ministers seek implementation of South China Sea code
Publication Date : 09-08-2014
Foreign ministers of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations yesterday discussed ways to reduce and prevent tension in disputed areas in the South China Sea.
Several Asean member-states - particularly Vietnam and the Philippines - currently have territorial disputes with China. But the situation has improved after China removed its oil rig from a disputed area where Vietnam also claimed sovereignty.
The Asean states, fearing that tension and violence may come up again, suggested the full implementation of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties (DOC) in the South China Sea, which Asean signed with Beijing in 2002.
The declaration is a non-binding document but the group is engaging with China to try to get a legal binding code of conduct to control behaviour of the countries concerned.
Thai Foreign Ministry permanent secretary Sihasak Phuangketkeow briefed the meeting on the progress of the task to establish negotiations with China on the code of conduct.
Thailand is coordinating talks with China. Sihasak will co-chair a meeting today of the Asean and China with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi. Measures to reduce and prevent tension at the sea are expected to be discussed as both sides have yet to agree on a code of conduct.