Russia Weighs Into South China Sea Dispute With Asean Accord


Russia is set to finalize an agreement with Asean countries including controversial references to maritime navigation and militarization of the South China Sea, a draft of the accord obtained by VOA Khmer shows.

According to a draft of the Sochi Declaration, which is dated May 7 and marked as the agreed text, Russia is moving towards a “strategic partnership for mutual benefit” covering security, trade, social, health and environmental issues.

The unprecedented engagement with the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations, is part of the Putin administration’s efforts to expand their influence in the region. It comes as U.S. President Barak Obama is due to visit Vietnam to strengthen ties with Hanoi a week after the U.S. sent a warship to the disputed sea.

The agreement, due to be adopted on Friday, states that Asean and Russia agreed to “Ensure maritime security and safety, freedom of navigation and overflight, unimpeded commerce. Promote self-restraint, non-use of force or the threat of force and the resolution of dispute through peaceful means in accordance with universally recognized principles of international law.”

The parties also agreed to “Support the full and effective implementation of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC) and early conclusion of an effective Code of Conduct in South China Sea (COC) on the basis of consensus.”