MANILA, Philippines — China on Thursday said consultations on the “long-delayed” Code of Conduct (COC) for South China Sea are going smoothly.
Chinese Foreign Ministry Mao Ning disclosed this in a regular press briefing after she was asked how optimistic the ministry is for the new phase of negotiations regarding the disputed waters.
“China and Association of Southeast Asian Nation countries are working toward the adoption of COC in the South China Sea, which is an important measure in implementing the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC). The consultations on the COC are going smoothly,” said Mao.
She likewise noted that the second reading on COC has been completed and the third reading has commenced.
Parties, according to Mao, have likewise adopted guidelines to accelerate consultations on the framework.
“The issue of the South China Sea is highly complex and faces external interference. We hope ASEAN countries will work with us toward the set target and speed up consultations for the early adoption of the COC,” said Mao.
The Philippines and ASEAN countries have been working with China, seeking to produce a framework to establish a COC for the disputed South China Sea.
Foreign Affairs Assistant Secretary Daniel Espiritue earlier noted that talks on the COC are ongoing, but he stressed that it will take time since “it’s a very methodical process” that cannot be rushed.