The following is an excerpt from Joint Communiqué of the 49th ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting in Vientiane on 24 JULY 2016, which focuses on the South China Sea issues.
South China Sea
174. We remain seriously concerned over recent and ongoing developments and took note of the concerns expressed by some Ministers on the land reclamations and escalation of activities in the area, which have eroded trust and confidence, increased tensions and may undermine peace, security and stability in the region.
175. We reaffirmed the importance of maintaining and promoting peace, security, stability, safety and freedom of navigation in and over – flight above the South China Sea.
176. We further reaffirmed the need to enhance mutual trust and confidence, exercise self-restraint in the conduct of activities and avoid actions that may further complicate the situation, and pursue peaceful resolution of disputes in accordance with international law, including the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).
177. We emphasised the importance of non-militarisation and self-restraint in the conduct of all activities, including land reclamation that could further complicate the situation and escalate tensions in the South China Sea.
178. We underscored the importance of the full and effective implementation of the DOC in its entirety, and while noting the momentum and new phase of consultations, urged all parties to work expeditiously for the early adoption of an effective Code of Conduct (COC), including through increasing the frequency of ASEAN-China Senior Officials’ Meetings and Joint Working Group Meetings on the Implementation of the DOC.
179. We highlighted the urgency to intensify efforts to achieve further substantive progress in the implementation of the DOC in its entirety as well as substantive negotiations for the early conclusion of the COC including the outline and timeline of the COC.
180. Pursuant to the full and effective implementation of the DOC in its entirety, and pending the early adoption of an effective COC, we stressed the importance of undertaking confidence building and preventive measures to enhance, among others, trust and confidence amongst parties.
181. We reiterated the need to establish the MFA-to-MFA hotline to manage maritime emergencies in the South China Sea. We looked forward to the adoption of a joint statement on the observance of the Code for Unplanned Encounters at Sea (CUES) in the South China Sea. Both are seen as deliverables for the ASEAN-China Commemorative Summit. In our view, these are practical measures that could reduce tensions, and the risks of accidents, misunderstandings and miscalculation.
Read the full joint communiqué at https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/2997889-Joint-Communique-of-the-49th-AMM-ADOPTED.html
Treaties, Agreements and Joint Statements: https://seasresearch.wordpress.com/category/official-positions-and-legal-instruments/treaties-agreements-and-joint-statements/