China can help guide critical COC talks


Senior officials from China and ASEAN will reportedly focus on agreeing to a Code of Conduct (COC) in the South China Sea in Suzhou, China’s Jiangsu Province next month.

Judging by official statements, China has always been stressing a gradual process to reach a COC.

But the upcoming negotiations can be considered as a more active approach taken by the Chinese side in the goal to reach an agreement.

In recent years, the negotiations on a COC in the South China Sea have become a negative factor for China’s image in the international stage. Due to propulsion from both outside and within, ASEAN has become more united in taking the initiative in negotiating on a COC.

Extended regional countries such as the US and Japan have taken the chance to gain a discourse advantage in the South China Sea issue, hyping up an atmosphere that China is unwilling to negotiate.

The Chinese media’s discussion about the negotiations on a COC has been limited. Those who discuss them are portrayed as compromising the sovereignty of the South China Sea. And worse, little has been said about how such negotiations can be started and how China should handle the process.

The negotiations of a COC in the South China Sea definitely need discreet planning. But as long as this is a matter that China cannot avoid, it should adopt a more active attitude.


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