Asean, China agree to starts talks on Code of Conduct in South China Sea

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Chinese Premier Li Keqiang speaks at the Asean-China Summit on Monday, Nov. 13, 2017. (Photo from an RTVM video)

Leaders of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) and China have agreed to start the talks on the Code of Conduct on the disputed South China Sea, a presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said Monday.

“One of the outcomes of the meetings is to commence the negotiations on a substantive and effective Code of Conduct in the South China Sea after concluding Framework Agreement on Code of Conduct,” Roque said in a statement.

The agreement was made during the 20th Asean-China Summit, which was attended by Chinese Premier Li Keqiang,  at the Philippine International Convention Center in Pasay City.

“We are committed to work with ASEAN to the good neighbors, good friends, and good partners that always stand together, rain or shine,” Li said in opening statement at the summit.

“We are also committed to working with ASEAN to build a community of shared future featuring common ideas, common prosperity and a common responsibility,” he added.

President Rodrigo Duterte welcomed China’s remarks, expressing hopes that the Summit could help boost the countries’ “substantive and dynamic relations.”

“I look forward to having a fruitful and productive meeting that shall demonstrate our common resolve of mutual understanding toward the realization of our shared goals and aspiration,” Duterte said.

The call for the Asean and China to come up with a COC has increased as tensions arise between and among the states – including Malaysia, Vietnam, and Brunei – claiming parts of the disputed sea, which China wholly claims.

The Philippine has questioned China’s expansive claims in the South China Sea before the United Nations-backed Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague and scored a victory over China. /atm

Check out our Asean 2017 special site for important information and latest news on the 31st Asean Summit to be held in Manila on Nov. 13-15, 2017. Visit http://inquirer.net/asean-2017.

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