• Melo Acuna

Chinese Embassy in Manila says an outsider interferes in regional affairs

ASEAN and China share interests in a peaceful and stable South China Sea

MANILA – The Chinese Embassy in Manila took note of Foreign Secretary Teodoro L. Locsin, Jr.’s statement the Philippines will pursue forward negotiations for an effective and substantive Code of Conduct (COC) in the South China Sea.

In a statement released today, the Chinese Embassy said it is the common interests of China and ASEAN to keep the peace and stability in the South China Sea. The Embassy statement said with concerted efforts both China and ASEAN countries maintained overall stability in the area through a dual track approach.

“The countries directly concerned have effectively managed their territory and maritime disputes and steadily carried out dialogue and cooperation on maritime issues through various bilateral mechanism. Good progress has been achieved,” the Chinese Embassy statement said.

The statement revealed China and ASEAN countries are committed to the full and effective implementation of the Declaration of Conduct of Parties (DOC) and to advancing consultation on the Code of Conduct (COC). The Chinese Embassy emphasized China is sincere in its attitude and firm in resolve. It was Chinese Premier Li Keqiang who first proposed the conclusion of the COC consultations within three years by 2021, which was agreed by ASEAN leaders.

“We are happy to see that good headway has been made with the completion of the first reading of the Single Draft COC Negotiating Text (SDNT) and the beginning of the second reading of the SDNT last year,” the statement emphasized.

While admitting COVID-19 pandemic slowed down the process of COC consultations, China and ASEAN countries are trying to make-up for the time lost. With the joint efforts of ASEAN countries and China with the Philippines as Coordinator of Chinese – ASEAN dialogue, the Chinese side has resumed the working group meeting on COC and through an online video conference.

Speaking of challenges faced by China and ASEAN countries in the consultation on the COC, the embassy statement said apart from the pandemic, “there is a certain country outside the region, is bent on interfering in the disputes of the South China Sea and the COC consultations to serve its own agenda.”

Th Embassy statement explained how to resist the interference is crucial for pushing forward the coming consultations of the Code of Conduct.

The Chinese Embassy expressed its appreciation for the Philippines’ commitment to push forward negotiations towards an effective and substantive COC in the South China Sea.

“We firmly believe that with the joint efforts of China and ASEAN countries, the COC would be able to be finalized at the earliest, contributing to the peace and stability in the South China Sea,” the statement concluded. (Melo M. Acuña)


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