ASEAN likely to begin talks on South China Sea Code of Conduct -DFA

MANILA-- Foreign ministers of Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) member-states are expected to endorse the framework on the Code of Conduct (COC) to address disputes in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea) and are likely to instruct starting talks on the actual code, said the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA).

We don't want to put a timeframe on the negotiations on the COC, but the Ministers are likely to instruct the Senior Officials to begin talks as soon as possible, said DFA Acting Spokesperson Robiespierre Bolivar.

Bolivar said the framework on the COC would definitely be mentioned in the joint communique of the 50th ASEAN Foreign Ministers' Meeting (AMM) and Related Meetings, noting the negotiated statement could still evolve.

Whatever comes out in the joint communique at the end of AMM related meetings is going to be a document with a consensus of ASEAN, he said in a press briefing.

The 50th AMM and Related Meetings will commence here on Aug. 5.

The DFA official said the draft framework of the COC would be adopted by the Foreign Ministers at the ASEAN-China Ministerial Meeting on Aug. 6.

The draft of the framework has already been endorsed by the senior officials last May to the ministers. We don't really expect there will be extensive discussion other than the ministers adopting the framework, added Bolivar.

The Philippines chairs this year's ASEAN Summits.

Source: Philippine News Agency