See More on Facebook

Diplomacy

ASEAN and China hail breakthrough in South China Sea negotiations

The two sides have agreed to formal texts to negotiate a long sought after code of conduct in the South China Sea.


Written by

Updated: August 3, 2018

Asean and China have agreed on a single text to negotiate the Code of Conduct in the South China Sea, said Singapore Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan on Thursday (Aug 2).

They have also agreed on the “key modalities” for future rounds of negotiations, he said in opening remarks at the Asean-China Ministerial Meeting, one of several related meetings held alongside the Asean Foreign Ministers’ Meeting in Singapore this week.

Dr Balakrishnan said the single draft negotiating text will be the basis for future Code of Conduct (COC) negotiations and a living document. This means that it will be continually edited and updated.

Asean and China settled on the negotiating text in June when both sides held talks in Changsha in China’s Hunan province, he added.

China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi welcomed the announcement in his remarks, calling it good news and a major development.

“We believe that without any disturbances from outside, COC negotiations will accelerate,” he said.

“Past progress has shown that China and Asean countries have the ability to maintain peace and stability in the South China Sea, and have the wisdom to arrive at a set of regional rules of conduct that we all will observe.”

Describing the progress, Mr Wang added: “It is like China and Asean countries building a house together. In the past, there were 11 designs from the 11 countries on how this house would look like. Now, we have laid in place good groundwork for a single design of this house, and we have also put in place the fundamentals, like the supporting pillars of this house.”

China and several Asean members – Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Vietnam – claim parts of the South China Sea.

Their competing territorial claims to the disputed waters have been a long-running thorny issue in regional relations, though the situation has been calmer since last year.

Progress on coming up with a set of rules, however, has been slow. China and Asean have been working to fully implement the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties, the precursor to the COC, since 2002.

Negotiations on the COC began in March this year, following last year’s adoption of the framework for the COC.

Singapore has been the country coordinating dialogue relations between Asean and China since 2015, and handed over the rotating role to the Philippines at the end of Thursday’s meeting.

Dr Balakrishnan in his remarks reviewed Asean-China relations during Singapore’s time as coordinator, saying that much has been achieved over the past three years in many areas including trade, investment and innovation.

But such cooperation is only possible with mutual trust and confidence, he added.

“Where there are disagreements from time to time, the key is to seek out common ground, focus on practical cooperation, and resolve differences peacefully and in the spirit of goodwill,” he said.

Such practical cooperation includes the 2016 adoption of the Code for Unplanned Encounters at Sea, and the opening of hotlines between foreign affairs ministries for maritime emergencies in the South China Sea, he added.

As this year is the 15th anniversary of the Asean-China strategic partnership, both sides will also endorse a statement laying out the broad and strategic overview of Asean-China cooperation in the future.

Dr Balakrishnan said he looked forward to the adoption of the statement, called the Asean-China Strategic Partnership Vision 2030, when Asean and China meet again in November.

“All in all, Asean-China cooperation has enjoyed a very good run over the last three years, but there is much more to be done,” he said.

Mr Wang said: “This meeting was more harmonious, smooth and friendly. That shows that mutual trust and support between China and Asean countries have grown from strength to strength.



Enjoyed this story? Share it.


About the Author: The Straits Times is Singapore's top-selling newspaper.

Eastern Briefings

All you need to know about Asia


Our Eastern Briefings Newsletter presents curated stories from 22 Asian newspapers from South, Southeast and Northeast Asia.

Sign up and stay updated with the latest news.



By providing us with your email address, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.

View Today's Newsletter Here

Diplomacy

7 of 10 Filipinos worried by presence of Chinese workers

China has increased its presence in the archipelago. The rising presence of Chinese workers in the country worry seven out of 10 adult Filipinos, according to the latest Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey, as the government recently launched a crackdown against Philippine offshore gaming operators (Pogos) which mostly employ Chinese nationals. The noncommissioned survey, conducted from Sept. 27 to 30, found that 31 percent “worried a great deal,” while 39 percent are “somewhat worried.” Highest in Metro Manila The proportion of those who were worried about the increasing number of Chinese workers in the country was highest in Metro Manila at 75 percent, followed by the Visayas at 71 percent, Luzon outside Metro Manila (69 percent) and Mindanao (67 percent.) About half of the respondents agree that the rising number of Chinese workers is a threat to national secur


By Philippine Daily Inquirer
December 6, 2019

Diplomacy

Huawei asks US court to overturn ban

The company is suing the FCC, the latest in a series of legal tussles. The legal battle between Huawei Technologies Co and United States government intensified on Thursday. The Chinese tech heavyweight announced a legal challenge to the US Federal Communications Commission, seeking to overturn the latter’s order that bans telecom carriers from buying the company’s equipment via federal subsidies. The move is the latest push by the world’s largest telecom equipment maker to pursue fair competition and treatment amid a slate of restrictions from Washington. Analysts said the FCC ban would have very limited impact on Huawei’s financial performance, but labeling the company as a national security threat would cause far-reaching reputational harm. In a petition filed in the US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit on Thursday, Huawei asked the court to declare the FCC order un


By China Daily
December 6, 2019

Diplomacy

North Korea has not given up hope for nuclear talks with US yet

Kim has mentioned a possibility of a ‘Christmas’ gift. Tensions between the US and North Korea have heightened as the two sides exchanged threats and bellicose rhetoric of possible military actions if necessary, amid their stalled nuclear talks. But they appear to have no intention to wind up their diplomacy at least for the next few weeks, experts said. On Wednesday, Heino Klinck, US deputy assistant secretary of defense for East Asia, said the US has been refraining from responding to every single one of North On Wednesday, US Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for East Asia Heino Klinck said the


By The Korea Herald
December 6, 2019

Diplomacy

Chinese FM to visit India this month for boundary talks

The talks were to be held in September but had to be postponed as the two sides could not find a suitable date for the meeting. Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi is expected to visit India later this month to hold boundary talks with National Security Advisor Ajit Doval, sources said on Wednesday. Wang, who is also a State Councillor, and Doval are the designated Special Representatives (SRs) of the two countries for the boundary talks. The talks were to be held in September but had to be postponed as the two sides could not find a suitable date for the meeting. Besides holding boundary talks with the NSA, Wang, a trusted lieutenant of Chinese President Xi Jinping, will meet External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar. He will also call on Prime Minister Narendra Modi.


By The Statesman
December 5, 2019

Diplomacy

Pyongyang to hold party meeting ahead of year-end deadline

Kim Jong-un rides up Paektusan again, highlights self-reliance and revolutionary spirit. North Korea will hold a plenary meeting around the end of December to decide on “crucial issues,” its state-run news agency said Wednesday. On the same day, the Korean Central News Agency reported that North Korean leader Kim Jong-un rode up Paektusan on a white horse accompanied by military commanders, raising speculation that the communist regime may take more provocative military actions as the year-end deadline it set for denuclearization talks with the US quickly approaches. North Korea’s Workers’ Party of Korea announced Tuesday that the 5th Plenary Meeting of the 7th Central Committee of the WPK would convene around the end of December, Korea Central News Agency reported, “in order to discuss and decide on crucial issues in line with the needs of the development of the Korean revolution and the chan


By The Korea Herald
December 5, 2019

Diplomacy

Japan, India must deepen ties to ensure regional maritime security

Japan sees China as a growing threat in the Asia Pacific region. It is important for Japan and India to deepen their security cooperation and strive to ensure the safety of sea-lanes. Japan and India have held their first foreign and defense ministers’ meeting — so-called two-plus-two talks — in India and issued a joint statement focusing on the promotion of the “free and open Indo-Pacific” initiative, which has been led by Japan and the United States. The two-plus-two meeting is a framework in which ministers discuss security policies and defense cooperation. India became the seventh country for Japan to hold the dialogue in this style, following the United States and Australia, among others. India last year held a two-plus-two meeting with the United States, making Japan its second country for such a meeting. China has been proceeding with work


By The Japan News
December 3, 2019