Vietnam wants early resumption of ASEAN-China COC talks

By Staff reporters   October 1, 2020 | 05:34 am PT
Vietnam wants early resumption of ASEAN-China COC talks
China's Liaoning aircraft carrier with accompanying fleet conducts a drill in an area of the South China Sea in a photo taken in December, 2016. Photo by Reuters/Stringer.
Vietnam hopes for an early resumption of ASEAN-China negotiations on the Code of Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea as requested by the Philippines last month.

"The resumption of negotiations for the COC following the interruption due to Covid-19 is a priority for ASEAN countries and China. Sharing the priority, Vietnam wishes to resume negotiations in documents with relevant countries, progressing to achieve a comprehensive and effective COC in accordance with international law and the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS)," Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Le Thi Thu Hang said Thursday.

Hang was responding to a request for comment on Filipino Secretary of Foreign Affairs Teodoro Locsin Jr. wanting to finish the second reading of the COC before transferring the role of monitoring COC negotiations to Myanmar in 2021.

Locsin had expressed his wish at the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) held online on September 12, the Inquirer reported.

The COC negotiations between ASEAN and China have been ongoing since 2002, aiming to build a legally binding document on the South China Sea, known in Vietnam as the East Sea. The most recent meeting regarding the COC was held in Vietnam’s Da Lat in October last year, with both sides agreeing on preparations for the second reading of the COC draft.

Discussions on the issue were supposed to continue at the bloc's Senior Officials’ Meeting (SOM) in July, but the Covid-19 pandemic disrupted these plans.

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