KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia – Malaysia has called for China to cooperate with Southeast Asia in speeding up talks on a set of rules in the disputed South China Sea, where Beijing’s island-building activities have sparked international alarm.
Foreign Minister Anifah Aman, whose country hosts a regional summit next week, also cautioned rival claimants to the strategic seaway against taking actions that stoke tensions, according to an interview published Thursday, April 23, in The Star.
He said Malaysia planned to use its position as chair of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) this year to push for progress on a maritime Code of Conduct (CoC) aimed at preventing provocative actions.
“Malaysia hopes China will work together with ASEAN member-states in hastening the conclusion of negotiations on the CoC,” Anifah told the newspaper.
ASEAN has pushed China for more than a decade to agree on a legally binding code of conduct, which would build on a non-binding 2002 pledge by parties to respect freedom of navigation, resolve disputes through negotiation, and exercise “self-restraint”.