China and ASEAN Agree to Create a Code of Conduct for the South China Sea Dispute
By Mei Manuel, August 20, 2016 03:08 AM
China and the members of the ASEAN have announced on Wednesday that they will be creating a "code of conduct" by the end of the year to reduce the tensions in the disputed South China Sea.
According to Reuters, the decision was agreed upon by the member countries and China in an ASEAN meeting in Manzhouli, China. In the meeting, the consensus also discussed the creation of a China-ASEAN hotline that would connect each country to one another in times of maritime emergencies. This China meeting is the third meeting in the year which aimed to discuss the Code of Unplanned Encounters at Sea (CUES).
In a statement, Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Liu Zhenmin remarked "There is another achievement - we reached broad consensus on pushing forward the negotiations on a code of conduct for the South China Sea. All sides agreed to raise the frequency of the negotiations in a situation without interferences, and seek to finish a draft framework of the code of conduct by the middle of new year."
The decision to create the code of conduct comes two months after The Hague arbitration court ruled that China's activities in the disputed territories in the South China Sea is illegal. China has repetitively said the decision is a ploy against the mainland and a decision they will not respect.
The code of conduct is expected to reduce the skirmishes between the disputing countries especially when fishermen and trawlers find themselves in another claimant's territories.
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