BINTANGNEWS.com – Foreign ministers of the ten ASEAN member countries and China have adopted a framework for a Code of Conduct (CoC) in the South China Sea.
Several sources from the
Indonesian Foreign Ministry have confirmed the adoption of the framework, which the Philippines has previously likened to an outline for the CoC.
"Indonesia welcomes the adoption of the CoC framework by the foreign ministers of ASEAN [member countries] and China," Foreign Minister Retno LP Marsudi said on Sunday afternoon, as quoted by the ministry spokesperson.
The minister went on to express her hope that China would continue to play the constructive role it had so far played to conclude the CoC negotiations.
She also said the onus was on all countries to maintain regional peace and stability and respect international law, including the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi was present at the ASEAN-China meeting in Manila on Sunday to adopt the CoC framework.
While some have dismissed the framework as another attempt to move the goalposts in the definitive South China Sea COC negotiations, the framework represents a breakthrough for ASEAN centrality, which has been on display since a meeting in Bali earlier this year decided on the creation of a "zero draft".
The framework, a sparse document that acts as a kind of table of contents to the CoC document, was adopted after 15 years of disagreement on the use of a draft CoC that would satisfy all parties involved.
China has made sweeping claims over the South China Sea, a vital waterway through which US$5 trillion in sea-borne trade passes each year.
Four ASEAN member states — Brunei, Malaysia, Vietnam and the Philippines, have claims in the waters that compete with China’s.***
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