PH sees completion of sea code of conduct this year
The Philippines expressed confidence Tuesday that the long-overdue Code of Conduct on South China Sea will be “completed or substantially completed” this year.
In an interview, Foreign Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano said the document could be ready in time for the Association of Southeast Asian Nation (Asean) Summit in Singapore in November.
“We’re all hoping that it’s either completed or substantially completed this year. The hope is that by November when our leaders meet, we will have it,” Cayetano said.
The Philippines, China, Malaysia, Vietnam, Brunei Darussalam, and Taiwan have overlapping claims in the South China Sea. The code will define what the claimant states can do and cannot do in the disputed waters.
Cayetano, however, said that expectations must be managed because “it’s not easy” to come up with such a document.
Singapore is this year’s Asean chairman. Cayetano flew to the city-state on Tuesday to attend the Asean Ministerial Meeting.
Asked when the sea code may be completed, he said, “…if we have to make an educated guess, it could be anytime towards the end of the year or next year until we actually have a COC that I think will satisfy everyone.”
Last month, Asean leaders and China have agreed to move forward with the negotiations. /ee
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