Alwaght- Foreign ministers of the ten ASEAN member countries and China have adopted a framework for a Code of Conduct (CoC) in the South China Sea in a swipe at US interference in the region.
The approval of the framework of the Code of Conduct (COC) in the South China Sea marks an important achievement for China and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in jointly managing their differences and easing tensions in the disputed waters, Chinese experts said.
Foreign ministers from ASEAN and China approved the framework, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said on Sunday.
The framework, which was negotiated by China and ASEAN, will help both sides move forward in negotiating an effective code of conduct, Chinese official Xinhua News Agency reported Saturday, quoting Robespierre Bolivar, Philippine foreign affairs department spokesman.
Bolivar had earlier said the framework was one of the major outcome documents of the week-long ASEAN ministerial meetings that began on Saturday.
Compared to the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC) signed in 2002, the framework's approval is a substantial step toward making the declaration binding, Zhu Feng, an international relations professor at Nanjing University, told China’s Global Times, adding that this is an important achievement of China and ASEAN in the last 15 years.
The framework was agreed upon in May during a senior officials' meeting on the implementation of the DOC in Guiyang, Southwest China's Guizhou Province. Under the agreement, all parties are obliged to reach a final COC to build a South China Sea of peace, friendship and cooperation.
Meantime, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is traveling to the Philippines, Thailand and Malaysia from Sunday to Thursday.
"It is a good reminder to the US that its interests cannot replace other countries' interests nor can it manipulate others. The approval will remind the US that it should view South China Sea issues from a practical perspective," Zhu said.