MANILA – The Philippine government, as the country coordinator for the Asean-China Dialogue, is pushing for the early conclusion of negotiations on the Code of Conduct in the South China Sea.
During the 27th Asean Regional Forum (ARF) held last September 12, Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin, Jr. said Manila will “push as hard as it can for the conclusion of an effective and substantive Code of Conduct in the South China Sea”.
The Philippines hopes to make substantial headway on the second reading of the negotiating draft before turning over the co-chairmanship of the negotiations to Myanmar next year.
“I declared that as China Coordinator I will push through to the 2nd Draft and get started on the 3rd before handing the China Coordinatorship to my brother Myanmar. That is what I am honor bound to do,” Locsin said in a separate tweet on Tuesday.
Locsin, during the forum, also expressed gratitude for the expressions of support for the Philippines in the wake of the recent Jolo bombings as he called for continuous cooperation to combat terrorism.
“I remind colleagues that this kind of terrorism threatens everyone in the Association. It will be tempting to pass on the threat; but its very exportability makes this terrorism as easily importable as happened in Marawi. Nor is one country turning its back on another’s terrorist problem an option,” he said. “As terrorism grows in one, the threat of it increases in others.”
The ARF is an inclusive platform in the Asia-Pacific region for fostering constructive dialogue and cooperation among participants on political and security issues of common interest and concern, such as combatting terrorism and transnational crimes.
It is currently comprised of 27 members, namely the 10 Asean member states, Australia, Canada, China, the European Union, India, Japan, New Zealand, the Republic of Korea, Russia, the United States, Bangladesh, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Mongolia, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and Timor-Leste; and one Asean observer, the Papua New Guinea.
The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) is comprised of Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam. (PNA)