MANILA — The Chinese Embassy in Manila on Thursday cited an unnamed country for what it described as “interference” in the South China Sea (SCS) dispute and the ongoing negotiation for the Code of Conduct (COC) in the region.

“Apart from the difficulties caused by the pandemic, (a) certain country outside the region is bent on interfering in the disputes of the South China Sea and the COC consultations to serve its own geopolitical agenda. How to resist the interference is crucial for pushing forward the future consultations of COC,” the Chinese Embassy said in a statement.

The Embassy did not name the country but the remarks came just a month after Chinese Ambassador Huang Xilian branded the United States as an outsider and asked the country to stop from “meddling” in the South China Sea issue.

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and China began the second reading of the Single Draft COC Negotiating Text (SDNT) in 2019. Following the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) outbreak, the two parties were only able to resume its consultation on September 3.

As the country coordinator for the ASEAN-China Dialogue, Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. earlier said he would push through to the second reading and get started with the third reading before handling the coordinatorship to Myanmar.

The Embassy, meanwhile, said Beijing is committed to the full and effective implementation of the Declaration of Conducts of Parties (DOC) and to advancing consultations on the Code of Conduct (COC).

“On the COC consultations, China is sincere in its attitude and firm in resolve. It is in November 2018 that Chinese Premier Li Keqiang first proposed to conclude the COC consultations within three years (or) by 2021, which was agreed by ASEAN leaders,” it said. (PNA)