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ASEAN concludes drafting key elements for COC in South China Sea

PHNOM PENH -- Senior officials of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) on Thursday finished drafting the core elements for making the Code of Conduct (COC) in the South China Sea, said a Cambodian senior official.

"We wrapped up our discussion on the key elements for drafting the COC and we will submit them to the ASEAN foreign ministers for final decision in July's meeting before we start negotiating with China," said Soeung Rathchavy, secretary of state at Cambodia's Foreign Ministry, who chaired the 7th ASEAN senior officials meeting. "It is a positive result."

"We, ASEAN senior officials, stressed our joint commitment to implement the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC)," she said.

Rathchavy said the COC is very important for strengthening peace and stability in the region and for boosting friendship and cooperation between ASEAN and China.

Four ASEAN member states have partially claimed the sovereignty of the oil- and gas-rich South China Sea, namely, Vietnam, the Philippines, Brunei and Malaysia.

The Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea was adopted in Phnom Penh in 2002 between ASEAN and Chinese foreign ministers.

In July last year, ASEAN foreign ministers adopted the guidelines for drafting the COC in order to implement the DOC.

ASEAN groups Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.

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/InterAksyon.com | May 24, 2012 | Article Link

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