ASEAN, China Set to Agree on DoC Guidelines

25 July, 2011 | Source: ANTARA News

Nusa Dua, Bali (ANTARA News) - ASEAN and China are expected to reach agreement on the guidelines for the the implementation of the Declaration on the Conduct (DoC) of parties in the South China Sea, Indonesian Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa said.

"A senior officials meeting between ASEAN and China today agreed on the draft of the guidelines for the DoC. But, of course, the draft must be finalized at the level of foreign affairs ministers," said the minister adding that all ASEAN foreign ministers and their counterpart from China were scheduled to meet on Thursday (July 21) in Bali.

He said if the meeting between related foreign ministers could finalize the draft into guidelines for the DoC, it would be considered as major progress in the efforts to solve the South China Sea dispute.

Asked about the content of the draft, Marty briefly said it would regulate the implementation of the DoC.

Earlier, the assistant to the Vietnamese Foreign Affairs Minister, Pham Quang Vinh, has said he welcomed the recent progress saying that "This is a significant and good start for us to work together to continue dialogue and cooperation with a view to further promoting stability and confidence in the region,"

Echoing similar sentiments, China`s Assistant Foreign Minister Liu Zhenmin said the officials would submit what they had approved to their respective ministers for final endorsement.

"This is an important milestone document on cooperation among China and ASEAN countries," Liu told reporters. "And we have a bright future and we are looking forward to future cooperation."

Although still at an early stage, the document raised hopes for a peaceful resolution to the overlapping claims in the South China Sea.

China and some ASEAN countries, namely the Philippines, Vietnam, Brunei Darussalam and Malaysia have been in a dispute with regard to their claim on some oil and gas rich islands in the South China Sea area including Spratly and Paracel Islands.(*)


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