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Ministry of Foreign Affairs: Acceleration of South China Sea Negotiations Agreed by ASEAN and China

Indonesia’s initiative to accelerate the Code of Conduct (COC) negotiation process in the South China Sea has been successfully agreed by all ASEAN countries and the People’s Republic of China (PRC) or China during Indonesia’s 2023 Chairmanship of ASEAN.

This was conveyed by the Director of ASEAN Security Political Cooperation of the Indonesian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Rolliansyah Soemirat, Friday (1/9/2023) in Jakarta.

“In addition to accelerating negotiations, Indonesia’s initiative in the form of Guidelines can be a practical guideline that also contains substantive material to keep the COC effective and actionable,” Rolliansyah said as reported by the Indonesian Ministry of Foreign Affairs website, Friday (1/9/2023).

The guidelines, which are the first in history, summarize ASEAN-RRT aspirations to complete the COC in 3 years or less, through intensive discussion of pending issues so far as well as other working method proposals so that negotiations run faster and more effectively.

“Given the complexity of the elements in the COC, the parties involved have been very cautious so a breakthrough is needed to accelerate the process,” Rolliansyah said.

The COC is expected to be a rule of conduct that reflects international norms, principles and rules that are in line with and refer to international law, especially UNCLOS 1982 with the aim of achieving a stable, safe and peaceful LTS region.

UNCLOS or the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea is the international law of the sea.

As the name implies, UNCLOS 1982 discusses marine law including the rules therein. This convention was signed on December 10, 1982 in Montego Bay, Jamaica.
Reporting from the United Nations, this law of the sea convention came into force on November 16, 1994. The enactment of this convention means that all participating countries must comply with its regulations, including Indonesia.

Indonesia always supports confidence building measures (CBMs) and reducing tensions to support prosperity in the region, and continues to ensure ASEAN centrality in LTS issues.

During Indonesia’s Chairmanship of ASEAN, the COC negotiations have successfully completed the second reading or second round of negotiations. This shows a positive development that is expected to continue to be a momentum to accelerate the agreement of the code of conduct.

Indonesia has hosted the COC negotiations between ASEAN and China in March 2023.

At the end of 2023, Indonesia plans to host another round of COC negotiations as a contribution to the acceleration of the ongoing process.

In addition to the COC negotiations, Indonesia will continue to promote practical maritime cooperation between ASEAN and the PRC for the LTS region that can enhance mutual trust, to support and maintain peace, security and stability in the region.


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