ASEAN, China adopt CoC framework

10 August, 2017, 00:16 | Author: Ora Austin
  • China to endorse South China Sea code of conduct

They issued it late on Sunday evening (local time) after meeting with Beijing's top diplomat in Manila during the day.

The tribunal ruled that the Spratlys the main territory under dispute in the sea were not islands, rather reefs, and "cannot generate maritime zones, " or extend China's territorial claims as maintained by Beijing.

Addressing Foreign ministers from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, Minister of State for External Affairs V.K. Singh said that ASEAN occupies a central place in the security architecture of the Asia-Pacific region and the ability to harmonize larger interests of the world beyond it.

Critics, however, say the framework serves only as a brief outline of previously agreed principles and fails to mention concerns over China's newly built islands or an arbitration ruling a year ago that invalidated Beijing's claims to virtually all of the South China Sea.

But in an oblique reference to China's efforts to expand in the potentially mineral-rich sea region - such as through building artificial islands, air strips and other installations - they also noted "concerns expressed by some Ministers on the land reclamations and activities in the area, which have eroded trust and confidence, increased tensions and may undermine peace, security and stability in the region".

China claims nearly all of the South China Sea, and has heavily militarized some islands in the region and expanded other territories with major land reclamation work, turning sandbars into islands and equipping them with airfields, ports and weapons systems.

Japan has been calling on parties concerned to faithfully follow the July 2016 ruling by the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague, the Netherlands, that rejected China's claims in its territorial dispute with the Philippines in the South China Sea.

Dow index closes at new record high
Declining issues outnumbered advancing ones on the NYSE by a 1.08-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 1.07-to-1 ratio favored advancers. In Europe, London's commodities-heavy FTSE 100 index of major blue-chip firms stocks ended the day with a 0.1 percent gain.

"We could have done more to push China to agree to a much stronger document, holding claimant states more accountable", said one Asean diplomat. "I look forward to attending the Grand ceremony on 8th August to celebrate the Golden Jubilee of the Bangkok Declaration which gave rise to ASEAN", he added.

They also mentioned in their statement a vague reference to an global arbitration ruling a year ago that invalidated China's historical claims to virtually all of the strategic waterway.

She also said the onus was on all countries to maintain regional peace and stability and respect global law, including the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).

The Philippines, which serves as ASEAN chairman this year, called the conclusion of talks between China and ASEAN to finalize the framework "a very big step".

Foreign ministers and Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Secretary-General Le Luong Minh join hands for a family photo during opening ceremony of the 50th ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) meeting in Manila on Saturday.

The Philippines scored a major legal victory a year ago, when an global tribunal in the Hague threw out most of China's territorial claims, but since the election of President Rodrigo Duterte, Manila has become less confrontational with Beijing.

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