ASEAN Needs Law on South China Sea

ASEAN Needs Law on South China Sea

To help control potential armed conflicts in the South China Sea, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations has recently pressed China to conclude a Code of Conduct (COC) to replace the Declaration of Conduct (DOC) of Parties in the South China Sea that was signed between ASEAN and China in 2002.

Negotiations on the COC have long been delayed by China’s unwillingness to be constrained by such a document, but ASEAN’s northern neighbour seems recently to be more cooperative over the issue, and discussions have made more rapid progress as a result. The COC will therefore be high on the agenda of the ASEAN foreign ministers meeting in Bali this week, and is expected to be finalized before the ASEAN summit in November. The hope is that an agreement will be in place to mark the 20th anniversary of ASEAN-China dialogue relations.

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