Tag Archives: Code of Conduct

South Korea hopes for sea code of conduct

MANILA, Philippines – South Korean Defense Minister Han Min-koo is looking forward to the completion of a binding code of conduct for parties in the South China Sea even as he called on claimants to respect each other as they try to resolve the territorial row. Han yesterday noted that the South China Sea is important for South Korea since 90 percent of its petroleum trade and 30 percent of its total trade pass through the area. “It is my stance that the relevant nations surrounding this area and this situation should solve this situation based on mutual respect towards each other’s sovereignty and mutual cooperation and mutual understanding of each nation’s perspective,” Han said in a press conference at Camp Aguinaldo. “I also believe that parties should act in accordance with the DOC (Declaration of Conduct) that has already been made and I also look forward to the speedy conclusion of the code of conduct concerning the South China Sea,” he added. Read more: http://www.philstar.com/headlines/2015/09/15/1499952/south-korea-hopes-sea-code-conduct

Explaining China’s New ‘Commitments’ on the South China Sea

The 48th ASEAN Ministerial Meetings and related meetings were held from August 4-6, 2015. However, Wang Yi, China’s foreign minister, made the biggest impression on August 3, just before the meetings proper. He called a press conference to announce that China would keep five commitments on the South China Sea issue. These commitments are as follows: (1) maintaining peace and stability in the South China Sea, (2) peacefully solving disputes through negotiation and consultation, (3) controlling differences through rules and regulations, (4) maintaining freedom of navigation and overflight in the area, (5) gaining mutual benefits through cooperation. Read more: http://thediplomat.com/2015/09/explaining-chinas-new-commitments-on-the-south-china-sea/

Analyst: China uncomfortable with int’l criticism over sea activities

MANILA, Philippines — China seems to be uncomfortable with the growing criticisms over its reclamation activities in the disputed South China Sea, a foreign affairs analyst said. Bonnie Glaser, senior adviser for Asia in the Freeman Chair in China Studies, said that China’s move to establish maritime hotlines among foreign ministries is a sign that the Chinese are starting to recognize that their behavior causes great anxiety the region. Glaser, however, also believes that the Asian power’s initiative in the regional forum is unconvincing. “So far, however, the pushback has not been sufficient to change China’s calculus, which is that in the long term, Southeast Asian nations will be compelled to accommodate to Chinese interests in the South China Sea,” Glaser said in an analysis released by Washington-based think tank Center for Strategic and International Studies. The analyst stressed that the efficacy of the hotlines is “dubious” since coast guards, navies and maritime militias are not administered by foreign ministries. “Moreover, China’s foreign ministry is known to be institutionally weak and is rarely put in charge of handling crises,” the analyst said.   Read more: http://www.philstar.com/headlines/2015/08/13/1487654/analyst-china-uncomfortable-international-criticism-over-South-China-Sea-activities

This Is Why a Code of Conduct in the South China Sea Can’t Wait

At regional meetings in Kuala Lumpur recently, China attempted to reassure regional nations of its peaceful intentions and deflect attention from its destabilizing activities in the Spratly Island chain in the South China Sea. Speaking to reporters, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said that Beijing had halted dredging sand to build artificial islands. “China has already stopped. You just take an airplane to take a look,” he maintained. But Wang said nothing about ongoing construction and militarization of several land features. A 10,000-foot runway is nearly complete on Fiery Cross Reef, and according to Pacific Commander Harry Harris, the Chinese appear to be building hangars for tactical fighters. Satellite imagery also suggests that China may be getting ready to build a second runway on nearby Subi Reef. Early warning radar stations, military barracks, helipads, and lookout towers have been installed on several features and harbors large enough to receive tankers and major surface combatants are being built. Wang Yi’s remarks were timed to coincide with a series of high level meetings in Malaysia this week led by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), including the ASEAN Regional Forum and the East Asia Summit Foreign Ministers’ Meeting in which the United States participates. Pressure has been building on China to exercise self-restraint and engage in purposeful dialogue aimed at lowering tensions in the South China Sea.   Read more: http://www.nationalinterest.org/blog/the-buzz/why-code-conduct-the-south-china-sea-cant-wait-13552

Cambodia: A New South China Sea Mediator Between China and ASEAN?

Last week, Cambodia’s foreign minister Hor Namhong suggested that Cambodia would continue to seek to be a mediator in South China Sea disputes between China and the claimant states in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). “Cambodia wants to mediate in order to reduce the tense atmosphere between ASEAN and China because we discern that no solution can be found without talking to each other,” Hor Namhong said according to Voice of America. For those who follow developments in the South China Sea and Southeast Asia closely, the suggestion of Cambodia as a mediator in the disputes is a rather curious one. True, the country is not an ASEAN claimant unlike Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines and Vietnam. But mediation is a tall order even for more capable Southeast Asian states like Indonesia, despite its status as primus inter pares within ASEAN and its role – led by former Indonesian diplomat Hasjim Djalal – in informally conducting workshops on the issue since the 1990s (See: “No, Indonesia’s South China Sea Approach Has Not Changed”). The case for Cambodia assuming such a role does not appear to be a very strong one by comparison. Furthermore, the failure of ASEAN and China to make any diplomatic headway in the South China Sea disputes has never really been because of the lack of “talking to each other,” as Cambodia’s foreign minister seemed to suggest. The real problem, long recognized by those familiar with the issue,  is Chinese foot-dragging on measures like a binding code of conduct (CoC) on the South China Sea, as well as efforts designed to disrupt and undermine the ASEAN unity required to reach a constructive solution. (See: “China’s Plan for ASEAN-China Maritime Cooperation”).   Read more: http://thediplomat.com/2015/07/cambodia-a-new-south-china-sea-mediator-between-china-and-asean/

Let world court settle South China Sea disputes, says Asean

BEIJING: Representatives of Asean have urged China to settle disputes in the South China Sea through the International Court of Justice, and to speed up negotiations on a code of conduct. The pro-chancellor of Malaysia’s Wawasan Open University, Koh Tsu Koon, said disputes that could not be solved through negotiations could be taken to the world court. He said Asean members, as small countries, were concerned about the territorial disputes in the South China Sea and about the geo-politics (in the region). “If China is so confident about its historical and legal basis of the claims in the disputed water, why does it hesitate to go to the International Court of Justice?,” he asked. Koh’s remarks were made at a forum here on Southeast Asian Conflicts and Security Cooperation. He said said all Asean countries had accepted the world court as a common platform to resolve problems. China has set out claims to the South China Sea that extend far south of its coastline reaching close to Borneo, and incorporating the strategic Spratly and Paracel islands, with competing and overlapping claims by Malaysia, Vietnam, and the Philippines.   Read more: http://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/category/nation/2015/06/28/let-world-court-settle-south-china-sea-disputes-says-asean/

China told to restrain self

The Philippines has raised the alarm anew over China’s massive reclamation activities in disputed territories in the South China Sea, calling on Beijing to “exercise self-restraint.” “The Philippines reiterates its serious concern on China’s massive reclamation activities and planned construction of facilities in those features. These activities cause irreparable damage to the marine environment and marine biodiversity of the region,” the Department of Foreign Affairs said. The DFA said China’s reclamation and construction activities “grossly violate” the 2002 Asean-China Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC) and may serve to escalate the disputes and undermine efforts to promote peace, security, and stability. “The Philippines calls on China anew to heed calls from the region and the international community to exercise self-restraint in the conduct of activities pursuant to Paragraph 5 of the DOC,” the department added. Harry Roque, director of the UP Law Center’s Institute of International Legal Studies, described as “worrisome” China’s construction of artificial islands in Johnson South Reef, its expansion of its artificial island in Fiery Cross reef, and its deployment of naval forces to ward off any opposition. The Philippines has already lodged an arbitration case against China before the United Nations International Tribunal on the Law of the Seas, which Beijing refused to acknowledge.   Read more: http://manilastandardtoday.com/2015/06/21/china-told-to-restrain-self/

Freedom of navigation in East, South China seas stressed

MANILA — Maritime security experts attending a symposium hosted by the Institute for International Policy Studies (IIPS) agreed Monday that freedom of navigation and overflight in the East and South China seas should be assured. The symposium, titled “Towards Common Actions on Maritime Commons — Safeguarding Maritime Security in Asia through Regional Cooperation,” was cohosted by the Philippines’ Foreign Ministry and another organization. In a keynote speech, Antonio Carpio, a justice of the Philippine Supreme Court, criticized China for claiming possession of most of the South China Sea, saying this was an infringement of the U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea.   Read more: http://the-japan-news.com/news/article/0002224587

Viet Nam attends meeting on UN sea law convention

NEW YORK (VNS) — Viet Nam has underlined the significant role of the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) in creating legal frameworks for promoting the exploitation of seas and oceans in a peaceful, fair, stable and effective manner for peace and prosperity. Addressing the 25th meeting of State Parties to the UNCLOS, which took place in New York from June 8-12, the head of Viet Nam’s Permanent Representative Delegation to the UN, Ambassador Nguyen Phuong Nga, said that the East Sea, which was rich in natural resources and the second largest maritime route in the world, should be safeguarded and used in a sustainable way. The ambassador stressed the need to maintain peace, stability, navigation security and freedom of navigation and aviation in the East Sea in line with the UNCLOS and international law. Viet Nam was concerned about current complicated developments in the East Sea, especially large-scale construction activities which changed the natural characteristics of some structures in the sea, destroyed the marine environment and ecosystem and seriously affected peace, stability and security in the region, causing great concern among ASEAN member nations and countries inside and outside the region, Ambassador Nga stated.   Read more: http://vietnamnews.vn/politics-laws/271739/viet-nam-attends-meeting-on-un-sea-law-convention.html

Asean must act over the South China Sea

Although Asean has so far played a passive role in addressing the South China Sea dispute, a series of incidents — which raise concerns over the severity of tensions — should prompt Asean to take an assertive role to maintain peace in the region. Some Asean leaders might be content with the current stance of the alliance, although practically it has not contributed much to ensuring the South China Sea dispute will be resolved through diplomatic channels. However, recent incidents suggest that securing peace in the South China Sea could have significant implications for overall security in the region, and not just for the claimants. The South China Sea is not only rich in natural resources; it also serves as a major transport route for oil shipments and international navies. Asean cannot be complacent, especially after countries such as the US and Group of Seven (G-7) nations reacted strongly against China’s land reclamation, which includes building airstrips in the Spratly islands — also claimed by the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan.   Read more: http://www.bangkokpost.com/opinion/opinion/591509/asean-must-act-over-the-south-china-sea