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Philippines calls for 'gentlemen's agreement' between Asean, China on sea code

19 May 2017, 10:04 | Darnell Patrick

China installs rocket launchers on disputed South China Sea island: report

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On Thursday, China and ASEAN announced that they had reached agreement on the terms of a Code of Conduct framework to regulate their interactions in the South China Sea.

A code of conduct is the key objective of a 2002 Declaration on Conduct, large parts of which China has ignored, particularly a commitment not to occupy or reclaim uninhabited features. In recent months, however, China and ASEAN appear to have made swift progress.

"If it's legally binding, which court can the parties go to?"

Chinese incursions were the reason for 73% of those missions, while Russian incursions accounted for 26%, Japan's Defense Ministry said in an April report. The Philippine ambassador Chico Sta.

It said the the body would hold regular talks "without prejudice to the work of any other bilateral and multilateral mechanism dealing with issues concerning the South China Sea".

Speaking at the meeting, Deputy Foreign Minister Nguyen Quoc Dung, head of the Senior Officials' Meeting (SOM) ASEAN Vietnam, highlighted the East Asia's development prospect in regional and inter-regional connectivity and the role of ASEAN-China partnership in building the ASEAN Community.

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte on Friday described them as "some kind of armed garrison".

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"We intend to drill oil there, if it's yours, well, that's your view, but my view is, I can drill the oil, if there is some inside the bowels of the earth because it is ours", Duterte said in a speech, recalling his conversation with Xi. Its maritime branch passes through the South China Sea, and China appears ready to exercise its growing influence to the exclusion of parties it perceives as adverse to its ambitions-Singapore, with whom China has sparred recently, was not invited to this week's summit.

The undersea oil and gas riches in the South China Sea had already raised the stakes in the geopolitical fight in the region.

The RSN assets will include Supreme, Formidable and Victory vessels, as well as a maritime patrol aircraft Fokker F50 and the Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) F-16 aircraft.

Duterte said China did not want to bring up the arbitral ruling at a time when other claimant countries, like Vietnam, might also decide to file cases against it at the arbitration tribunal.

His remarks came the same day that China and the Philippines held their first session in a two-way consultation process on the South China Sea.

For China, the code of conduct is a means to achieving its goal of keeping the USA and its allies from intervening in the matter in the name of freedom of navigation or maintaining regional stability, said Huang Jing, an expert on the region at National University of Singapore's Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy. Ben Lowsen suggests that the expansion of Chinese "gray zone" operations (i.e., the pursuit of military objectives by non-military forces) poses a threat to global order, and requires a response from the United States.



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