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China says sea feud talks can start this year

13 August 2017, 11:40 | Darnell Patrick

China says sea feud talks can start this year

China says sea feud talks can start this year

"For the South China Sea, Cambodia's stance is not to take the side of any party".

He proposed maintaining the existing principles and stances on the East Sea stated in ASEAN documents and between the association its partners, especially those related to the settlement of disputes through peaceful methods without using or threatening to use force, and respect for worldwide law, the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, as well as diplomatic and legal processes.

This, he said, was due to the "positive momentum" in the disputed waters, stressing that the situation was different from the past and China and the Asean were now working together to ease the tension in the South China Sea.

He stressed that "China is seeking cooperation with ASEAN for development in the South China Sea".

Undoubtedly, from the Chinese perspective, the U.S. -Australia-Japan joint statement seriously broke the top hidden rule of foreign diplomacy: never make others lose face publicly.

The foreign ministers agreed to start operating a bilateral aerial and maritime communication mechanism as soon as possible in order to prevent any unintended clashes between the two countries in the East China Sea.

For decades, China has claimed ownership of almost the entire sea.

Agreement on the framework was reached at the 50th Ministerial Meeting of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) which coincided with the 50th anniversary of the founding of ASEAN.

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China has refused to recognise either the tribunal sitting at The Hague or the ruling and insists that the USA and its allies should stay out of what Beijing says are purely bilateral disputes with its neighbours.

This was followed by the call for a "Code of Conduct for the South China Sea", which was given its own acronym, "COC".

Philippine Foreign Minister spokesman Robespierre Bolivar said the ministers agreed to convene in August to discuss modalities of the negotiations on the actual code of conduct and Asean leaders are expected to announce the formal start of the negotiations at the summit in November.

Bolivar said they expect a paragraph in AMM Chairman Statement reflecting the adoption of the COC framework.

In its current form, the framework primarily offers guidance for avoiding tense incidents between the aircraft and naval vessels of various nations in the South China Sea-a far more limited code than what the U.S., Australia, and Japan have in mind.

"Only a few foreign ministers expressed their concern on land reclamation, so this is not a consensus between the 10 ASEAN countries, because only one or two foreign ministers raised their concern [regarding this issue.] I want to tell everyone here that China stopped its land reclamation two years ago, or in other words, we have already concluded our land reclamation projects".

Issues regarding the South China Sea and other territorial disputes saw them locking horns in a tense face-to-face on Monday.

He added that "heated discussions" took place about North Korea's missile tests and South China Sea disputes among the foreign ministers at the Asean forum and most countries believed United Nations sanctions on Pyongyang should be fully enforced.



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