China, ASEAN to be­gin talks on COC text

Global Times US Edition - - FRONT PAGE - By Yang Sheng

China and South­east Asian na­tions will start con­sul­ta­tions on the text of the Code of Con­duct (COC) in the South China Sea, Chi­nese Premier Li Ke­qiang said in Manila on Mon­day.

Li was in the Philip­pines where a sum­mit of the As­so­ci­a­tion of South­east Asian Na­tions (ASEAN) was held. Li made the re­marks at the 20th Chi­naASEAN (10+1) lead­ers’ meet­ing. China hopes that the COC could be adopted at an early date and serve as a “sta­bi­lizer” in the South China Sea, the Xinhua News Agency quoted the Chi­nese premier as say­ing. At an ASEAN for­eign min­is­ters’ meet­ing in Au­gust, China and ASEAN coun­tries

drew up and ap­proved the frame­work of the COC, say­ing they would ini­ti­ate sub­stan­tive con­sul­ta­tions on the code’s text within the year.

“Just like what Premier Li said, the COC is a ‘sta­bi­lizer,’ and we hope it can en­sure peace and sta­bil­ity in the re­gion, but it’s not made for solv­ing all dis­putes. China and ASEAN mem­bers who have claims in the South China Sea still have some dif­fer­ences,” said Xu Lip­ing, a se­nior re­search fel­low at the Chi­nese Academy of So­cial Sciences’ Na­tional In­sti­tute of In­ter­na­tional Strat­egy.

“For in­stance, is the COC legally bind­ing? If it is, who is re­spon­si­ble for law en­force­ment? This is a ques­tion that has to be an­swered, and China and some other claimant coun­tries of the South China Sea in­volved in the COC ne­go­ti­a­tions have dif­fer­ences on this,” Xu told the Global Times.

The Philip­pines also shares the same con­cern. The Manila Times quoted Philip­pine for­eign af­fairs sec­re­tary Alan Peter Cayetano as say­ing that China was be­ing prac­ti­cal in propos­ing a non-bind­ing COC.

Cayetano ex­plained that a legally bind­ing COC would be prob­lem­atic be­cause “ASEAN and China would have to agree on who would im­pose the penal­ties in the event any of the sig­na­to­ries vi­o­late its pro­vi­sions.”

Due to the in­ter­ven­tion of non-re­gional forces and dif­fer­ent po­si­tions held by claimant coun­tries, the fi­nal agree­ment needs time to be ap­proved, but we hope that dur­ing the ne­go­ti­a­tions, China and ASEAN coun­tries can push for prag­matic co­op­er­a­tion in the South China Sea at the same time, Xu Lip­ing said.

Filipino and Chi­nese coast guards have es­tab­lished roundthe-clock di­rect com­mu­ni­ca­tion to pro­mote co­op­er­a­tion in the South China Sea.

This, ac­cord­ing to the Philip­pine Coast Guard, means that when they meet in the said sea, “they would be able to com­mu­ni­cate with each other in a timely, friendly and co­op­er­a­tive man­ner,” Manila Bul­letin re­ported on Mon­day.

Sell goods to China

Aside from the South China Sea, top­ics such as cy­ber econ­omy were also dis­cussed at the China-ASEAN lead­ers’ meet­ing.

Ac­cord­ing to the Straits Times, Sin­ga­pore’s Prime Min­is­ter Lee Hsien Loong said “ASEAN can learn from China in the ar­eas of fin­tech, e-com­merce and smart cities” at the meet­ing on Mon­day.

“Peo­ple from South­east Asia are able to buy Chi­nese prod­ucts eas­ily through China’s e-com­merce plat­forms. There­fore, ASEAN coun­tries also want to find op­por­tu­ni­ties for their peo­ple to more con­ve­niently sell goods to China,” said Bai Ming, a re­search fel­low at the Chi­nese Academy of In­ter­na­tional Trade and Eco­nomic Co­op­er­a­tion.

“This re­quires ASEAN coun­tries to meet China’s stan­dards in many ar­eas, in­clud­ing lo­gis­tics, in­fra­struc­ture and In­ter­net ser­vice, but dif­fer­ent ASEAN coun­tries have dif­fer­ent con­di­tions, so we need more time to make cy­ber econ­omy ben­e­fit all ASEAN mem­bers,” Bai told the Global Times.

Po­lice hose down pro­test­ers as they try to march to the venue of the As­so­ci­a­tion of South­east Asian Na­tions (ASEAN) Sum­mit in Manila on Mon­day, which is also at­tended by US Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump. World lead­ers are in the Philip­pine cap­i­tal for two days of sum­mits.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.