ASEAN Foreign Ministers Meet in Philippines

ASEAN Foreign Ministers Meet in Philippines

ASEAN Foreign Ministers Meet in Philippines

Foreign ministers of the ASEAN member states and China have approved the framework of Code of Conduct in the South China Sea, local media reported on Sunday, citing Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi.

During last year's summit in Vientiane, Laos, the heads of state and government were not able to come up with a definitive stance on the maritime disputes in the South China Sea, as Cambodia opposed any mention of the landmark ruling by the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague against Beijing and in favor of the Philippines. "We have to have a code of conduct that all countries observe and adhere to", Bolivar said.

Philippine Foreign Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano said earlier that the ASEAN ministers were divided over a USA proposal to remove North Korea from the ASEAN Regional Forum, a 27-member grouping that includes the North, along with its most bitter adversaries - South Korea, the United States and Japan.

"If the situation in South China Sea is generally stable and if there is no disruption from outside parties, then we will consider during the Leaders' Meeting in November, we will jointly announce the official start of the COC consultation", Wang said during a news briefing at the Philippine International Convention Center.

Beijing and its Southeast Asian neighbors have agreed to a framework of the COC in an effort to ease tension or prevent future clashes in the resource-rich waterways.

As an important regional organization, ASEAN has become a major force in promoting regional integration and maintaining regional peace and stability, Wang said.

"Regarding what kind of COC will be produced, that is up to the discussion by the 11 parties of Asean plus China", he said.

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The paper said the People's Liberation Army had been moving for the last one month. He further said that the United States, would support India in the war.

"We wish Singapore well in these two roles", added Mr Wang.

But diplomatic sources say that is not the case at all, and that Vietnam is alone in lobbying for stronger language on the South China Sea issue, with the Philippines as host and chairman of Asean 2017 taking a more diplomatic approach in light of President Rodrigo Duterte's preferred policy of cajoling, instead of openly confronting, China.

Second, to synergize the Belt and Road initiative and the Master Plan on ASEAN Connectivity, and further expand the scope and dimension for bilateral cooperation.

"These developments seriously threaten peace, security and stability in the region and the world", the ministers said in their statement.

Fourth, to accelerate the implementation of the outcomes on upgrading the China-ASEAN Free Trade Area and safeguard the global free trade regime.

Seventh, to expedite negotiations on the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership and lead the process of regional integration together.

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) foreign ministers however were split on an American proposal to suspend Pyongyang from the ASEAN Regional Forum, a 27-nation bloc that includes North Korea, the US, South Korea and Japan.

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