Asean, China debuts COC ‘single draft’ for future talks on sea row


The Indo-Pacific cooperation concept includes promoting dialogue and Asean's unity in responding to global and regional issues.

A code of conduct between Beijing and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) to govern behaviour in the strategic South China Sea has been years in the making.

During the annual meeting of their foreign ministers in Singapore Thursday, an agreement was announced on an initial draft of a "code of conduct, " a set of rules to discourage aggression and reduce chances of accidental clashes and miscalculations.

ASEAN is a regional intergovernmental organization comprising 10 Southeast Asian countries - Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Vietnam, Philippines, Myanmar, Cambodia, Laos and Brunei.

Foreign Ministers at the 51st ASEAN Foreign Ministers Meeting in Singapore.

"We do have concerns about North Korea bypassing some of those sanctions, not adhering to its own obligations, so the secretary will use these opportunities to remind all of that obligation to stick to the sanctions as a means to get to the ultimate objective: the fully verified, finally fully verified denuclearization of North Korea", the official said.

However, the drills should not involve countries outside the region "unless the parties concerned are notified beforehand and express no objection".

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Speaking to reporters after meeting Pompeo on the sidelines of a regional summit in Singapore, Chinese State Councillor Wang Yi said Pompeo told him he was "was willing to maintain constructive contact".

"We welcome the further strengthening (of) our cooperation in cybersecurity with Russia through the issuance of the statement of ASEAN and Russian foreign ministers", the draft of the ten-member communique stated, adding that the title of the statement could change depending on negotiations.

His Chinese counterpart, Wang Yi, called the working text "good news" and "great progress".

China and ASEAN have held talks for years to try to ease tensions and prevent the disputes from degenerating into open conflicts.

China has recently come under fire for continued activities in the disputed waters, including the construction of military bases and the deployment of military assets on man-made islands.

However, opposition has weakened in other parts of Southeast Asia, with analysts saying that countries are keen to attract Chinese investment and are anxious about US commitment to the region under US President Donald Trump.