JAKARTA, KOMPAS.com - China has pledged to work with the ASEAN countries, including Indonesia as the current rotating chair, to accelerate negotiations on the code of conduct (CoC) on the South China Sea, said China's Foreign Minister Qin Gang.
Qin made the statement while speaking at a joint presser with his Indonesian counterpart Retno Marsudi in Jakarta on Wednesday, Feb. 22 during the 4th Indonesia-China Joint Commission for Bilateral Cooperation (JCBC). It was his first visit to the region since taking office at the end of 2022.
“Both China and Indonesia will work with other ASEAN countries to fully and effectively implement the DoC [Declaration of Conduct] to speed up consultation of CoC to jointly safeguard peace and stability in the South China Sea,” he said.
Beijing has claimed much of the South China Sea and even built island reclamation over the waterway.
However, China’s claim on the South China Sea overlaps with other claims from Taiwan and four ASEAN countries: the Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei Darussalam, and Vietnam.
In 2002, China and ASEAN countries agreed to work on creating a DoC on the South China Sea. It marked Beijing's first endorsement of a multilateral agreement on this matter.
The DoC was formulated for some purposes, such as to promote trust among disputed countries and prepare a CoC document that is formal and legally binding.
Nevertheless, negotiations on the code between China and ASEAN have yet to be completed since then due to Covid-19 restrictions, among other factors.
Hence, Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno is committed to intensifying negotiations under Indonesia’s chairmanship in the regional bloc this year.
The first round of CoC negotiations this year is scheduled in March.
“Negotiations on the code of conduct will be held again and intensified in person. Indonesia and ASEAN wish to produce a substantive, effective, and actionable CoC,” Retno said.
Source: State News Antara
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