US, Australia, Japan Call for Legally Binding South China Sea Code

Pauline Gross
August 13, 2017

'I don't think that matters much, ' he added. While its members acknowledge the concern, they also say it guarantees solidarity in decisions and statements they come up with.

This has also been the position taken by the Philippines under President Duterte, chairman of ASEAN on its 50th anniversary this year.

The Philippines International Convention Centre is the venue for meetings of foreign ministers of ASEAN and partner countries.

The documents detailing the new framework have not been distributed to the public due to the sensitive provisions they contain, and when asked by journalists about their contents, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi was evasive, saying: "we don't want to prejudge the result of those negotiations".

Xi added that trade relations between China and ASEAN has reached $450 billion previous year and around 2,700 flights are now available to connect China with ASEAN nations.

"But the problem of territorial disputes between China and the Philippines is between China and the Philippines".

Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella said Cayetano's approach on how to deal with China' extensive claim to the resource-rich waters was just "overly-interpreted".

Fourth, to accelerate the implementation of the outcomes on upgrading China-ASEAN Free Trade Area and jointly safeguard the global free trade regime.

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Philippine academic and security analyst Richard Heydarian summarised the latest developments in stronger terms "Overall it's a slam dunk diplomatic victory for China", he said.

The COC framework was agreed upon in May during a senior officials' meeting on the implementation of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC) in Guiyang, southwest China's Guizhou Province.

In July 2016, the arbitral tribunal in the Hague ruled that Beijing has no legal or historical basis for its nine-dash line, which demarcates its claims to nearly the entire South China Sea. This has drawn criticism from China. "Surely when we move into the COC, it has got to have some additional or significant legal effect".

In this EPA photo, U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson speaks to reporters at a hotel in Manila, the Philippines, on August 7, 2017.

The broad framework, which leaves wide scope for disagreement, has critics raising doubts about how effective the COC will be.

"Japan. U.S., and we will appreciate not being told what to do, because we are a sovereign nation", said Cayetano. This is a testament to the value the United States places on our partnership with ASEAN and, as a Pacific nation, our engagement with the broader Asia-Pacific region.

According to Japanese government sources, in the EAS foreign ministers' meeting, Kono said regarding China's military buildup in the South China Sea, "We strongly oppose any unilateral acts to try to change the status quo based on military power".

Other reports by GizPress

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