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ASEAN, China senior officials talk East Sea code of conduct

Update: September, 17/2013 - 08:05
Leaders from ASEAN countries and China discussed the development of the first Code of Conduct for Parties in the East Sea (COC) at the senior official level, following a consensus reached among foreign ministers in Brunei on June 30.—VNA/VNS Photo

BEIJING (VNS)— A Vietnamese delegation led by Deputy Foreign Minister Pham Quang Vinh, attended the sixth ASEAN-China Senior Officials' Meeting, held in Suzhou city, Jiangsu province.

The meeting took place between September 14-15, alongside the ninth meeting of the ASEAN-China working group on the implementation of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea (DOC).

Leaders from ASEAN countries and China discussed the development of the first Code of Conduct for Parties in the East Sea (COC) at the senior official level, following a consensus reached among foreign ministers in Brunei on June 30.

Addressing the event, Vinh stressed the importance of full and effective implementation of the Declaration's principles and regulations, agreed to in 2002. He called for the organisation to strengthen trust between nations within the DOC framework.

The Vietnamese Deputy Foreign Minister also voiced his support for finalising a binding Code of Conduct stipulating the rules and permissible behaviours of concerned parties. Vinh also urged the Code would help prevent and manage disputes, and resolve disagreements using peaceful means in accordance with international law and the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea.

A Vietnamese delegation led by Deputy Foreign Minister Pham Quang Vinh, attended the sixth ASEAN-China Senior Officials' Meeting, held in Suzhou city, Jiangsu province.—VNA/VNS Photo

The Deputy Minister said the solution would contribute to a stronger strategic partnership between the ASEAN community and China, while ensuring peace, stability and development in the East Sea and the region.

Representatives present at the meetings agreed to further strengthen consultation between the two sides and ratified a working plan for the Declarations's implementation in the 2013-2014 period. The plan includes a tentative agenda for senior officials, joint working group meetings; and proposes further co-operation within the DOC framework, including the establishment of hotlines, seminars on maritime search and rescue and environmental protection in the East Sea.

Representatives from ASEAN and China welcomed the first official consultation on the code, highlighting the significance of peace, stability and freedom in the East Sea.

The two sides also reached a consensus on future steps for the COC's development, re-affirming the principles already previously development between the ASEAN community and China. The principles were enshrined in the DOC signed in 2002, a Joint Statement of the ASEAN-China Summit, and conclusions from the ASEAN-China Ministerial Meetings held in June and August, 2013.

Representatives praised the first ASEAN-China official consultation at the senior official level as a positive and substantial beginning.

Whilst the forum is yet to discuss other issues relevant to the East Sea, according to participants, both ASEAN and China will continue implementation of the Declaration while hosting discussions on the Code of Conduct. — VNS

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