| R Ravichandran |
KOTA KINABALU (Bernama) – Asean Foreign Ministers, who will gather here (Kota Kinabalu) for their retreat in the next two days, are expected to exchange views in the context of the implementation of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC), said Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Anifah Aman.
Anifah said that besides this, the ministers are also expected to have consultation towards the establishment of the Code of Conduct in the South China Sea (COC).
“It is also possible that other related issues will be raised,” he told a press conference here yesterday.
With Malaysia as the chair of Asean this year, added Anifah, the three Asean-China Joint Working Group on the DOC and one Asean-China Senior Officials Meeting on the DOC will also be held.
Asean member countries and China signed the DOC in 2002, a fundamental document for maintaining peace and stability in the South China Sea.
In the declaration, among others, the parties concerned reaffirmed that the adoption of a code of conduct in the South China Sea would further promote peace and stability in the region and agreed to work, on the basis of consensus, towards the eventual attainment of this objective.
Kuala Lumpur had emphasised the need to expeditiously work towards an early conclusion of the Code of Conduct in the South China Sea.
In June last year, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak had said that the rule of law must reign supreme in resolving issues in the South China Sea.
The 10 Asean members comprise Brunei, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, the Philippines and Vietnam.
China and its Asean partners, Malaysia, the Philippines, Vietnam and Brunei have disputes on the overlapping territorial claims in the South China Sea.
On its part, China had said that it was always ready to solve the disputes through dialogues and direct negotiations.