China and ASEAN to maintain stability in South China Sea

China and ASEAN to maintain stability in South China Sea
Code of Conduct framework not an instrument to settle disputes between China and ASEAN
Author

09 August, 2017

The ASEAN foreign ministers, however, failed to identify in their Joint Communique issued Sunday night following their 50th meeting hosted by Manila, the particular country undertaking such reclamation activities in the disputed areas and those member states who have expressed their concerns.

Likewise, the ASEAN foreign ministers emphasized the importance of non-militarization and self-restraint in the conduct of all activities by claimants and all other states, including those mentioned in the Declaration of Conduct in the South China Sea that they said could further complicate the situation and escalate tensions in the region.

In a front page commentary on Monday, the overseas edition of the ruling Communist Party's official People's Daily said North Korea's open flouting of United Nations rules with its missile launches meant that it had to be punished, but sanctions had to be targeted to avoid hurting ordinary people or other countries.

The diplomatic olive branch came as the isolated regime faces increasing global pressure following its second intercontinental ballistic missile test on July 28, with the United Nations Security Council set to vote this weekend on new sanctions.

Just as the ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) meeting is slated to begin, Vietnam took a bold step and targeted China for its expansionist policies in South China Sea.

North Korea, which has maintained close relations with ASEAN, had earlier sought support from ASEAN countries in its row with the United States to prevent a "nuclear holocaust".

"I express my expectations that ASEAN, which attaches great importance to regional peace and stability, will make an issue of the US-South Korean joint military exercises at ASEAN conferences from a fair position and play an active role in safeguarding the peace and safety of the Korean Peninsula", the letter says in part.

This is in apparent reference to the United States, which China has repeatedly criticized for its interference in the South China Sea disputes.

Dilli to halli, we will defend DK Shivakumar: Congress
Shivakumar has been managing the stay of 42 Gujarat Congress MLAs in a resort located on the outskirts of Gujarat. Asked whether she has doubts about chief ministers hand behind the IT raids, she had said, "there may be".

The foreign ministers also welcomed in the statement the adoption of a framework Code of Conduct (COC) in the South China Sea which has been agreed with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi.

The agreed two-page framework is broad and leaves wide scope for disagreement, urging a commitment to the "purposes and principles" of UNCLOS, for example, rather than adherence.

Cambodia, one of China's strongest allies within ASEAN, has firmly resisted, according to the diplomats as well as an excerpt of the proposed Cambodian resolution obtained by AFP on Sunday.

The ministers had been debating for at least two days on how to respond to China collectively, with Vietnam said to be strongly resisting an agreement on the framework for a code of conduct as pushed by Beijing.

Officials in Washington say its latest test a week ago showed it may be able to reach most of the country.

The situation in the South China Sea should also be "generally stable", he said.

Some critics and diplomats told Reuters that China's sudden interest in starting negotiations for the COC after 15 years of delays is meant to buy time to complete its strategic objectives in the South China Sea.

"We believe that China and ASEAN should cherish the important progress that has been achieved through joint efforts and send a positive signal to the outside world together", he said.


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