ASEAN, China agree to advance COC negotiations

Senior officials of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) member countries and China have agreed to advance negotiations for a Code of Conduct in the East Sea (COC) to a new period, said Malaysian Foreign Minister Anifah Aman.

In a recent meeting, the officials concurred to negotiate the framework, structure and contents of the COC, and settle difficult and complicated matters related to the document, Aman told a press conference in Kuala Lumpur on the threshold of the 48 th ASEAN Ministerial Meeting (AMM 48), adding that this is an important step forward with regard to the COC.

Aman also revealed that at the meeting, the participants also considered a number of measures to resolve tensions among countries, while highlighting the need to implement relevant contents of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea (DOC).

While countries proceed with the implementation of the DOC and work expeditiously towards the establishment of the COC, recent developments have raised tensions and eroded trust and confidence among the parties, he stressed.

These developments should be settled to ensure peace, stability and security in the East Sea , Aman said, pointing to the need to maintain the East Sea as a sea of peace and prosperity, and prevent any actions leading to the possibility of increased militarisation.

Regarding the AMM 48, the Malaysian diplomat said the meeting and a series of related meetings will take place in Kuala Lumpur from August 1-6, with the participation of 27 countries.

Following the AMM 48, the ASEAN Foreign Ministers are expected to issue a joint statement, he added.