Aus­tralia, Ja­pan, US Call for South China Sea Code to be Legally Bind­ing

The Economic Times - - Around The World -

Manila: Aus­tralia, Ja­pan and the United States on Mon­day urged South­east Asia and China to en­sure that a South China Sea code of con­duct they have com­mit­ted to draw up will be legally bind­ing and said they strongly op­posed “co­er­cive uni­lat­eral ac­tions”. The As­so­ci­a­tion of South East Asian Na­tions and China should es­tab­lish a set of rules that were “legally bind­ing, mean­ing­ful, ef­fec­tive, and con­sis­tent with in­ter­na­tional law”, the for­eign min­is­ters of the three coun­tries said in a state­ment fol­low­ing a meet­ing in Manila. Forei g n minis - ters of Asean and China on Sun­day adopted a ne­go­ti­at­ing frame­work for a code of con­duct, a move they hailed as progress but seen by crit­ics as a tac­tic to buy China time to con­sol­i­date its mar­itime power.

Aus­tralia, Ja­pan and the United States also “voiced their strong op­po­si­tion to co­er­cive uni­lat­eral ac­tions that could al­ter the sta­tus quo and in­crease ten­sions”.

They urged claimants to re­frain from land recla­ma­tion, con­struc­tion of out­posts and mil­i­ta­riza­tion of dis­puted fea­tures, a veiled ref­er­ence to China’s ex­pan­sion of its de­fence ca­pa­bil­ity on Mis­chief, Fiery Cross and Subi reefs in the Spratly ar­chi­pel­ago.

Aus­tralia, Ja­pan and the US ‘voiced their strong op­po­si­tion to co­er­cive uni­lat­eral ac­tions that could al­ter the sta­tus quo and in­crease ten­sions’

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