Legally binding sea code, agreed upon by ASEAN Ministers, according to DFA

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ASEAN 2017
President Rodrigo Duterte speaks during the opening ceremony of the Association of South East Asian Nations (Asean) leaders’ summit in Manila on April 29, 2017. AFP

The Foreign Ministers of the ten (10) member-states of the ASEAN (Association of the Southeast Asian Nations) all agreed to push for binding Code of Conduct to be legalized in the South China Sea, according to the DFA (Department of Foreign Affairs.)

This statement was given in response to the call of Taro Kono-Foreign Minister OF Japan, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Julie Bishop-Foreign Minister of Australia to stop land ownership and military movements in the South China Sea.

Southeast Asian counterparts were called by the top ambassadors of Australia, Japan and the US to discuss a legally binding COC (Code of Conduct) in the questioned waters.

“I believe the Secretary General, in an interview a couple of days ago, mentioned that there was, in fact, an agreement among the ASEAN foreign Ministers that the preference is for a legally binding code of conduct,” Robespierre Bolivar –Spokesperson of the Department of Foreign Affairs, stated in a press briefing.

Bolivar was pertaining to the Secretary General of the ASEAN and the former Vietnam Deputy foreign Minister, LêLương Minh.

He also emphasized the position of the Philippines that it “prefers a legally binding code of conduct,” on the situation that it has to be successful.

“Meaning adhered to and observed by all parties,” Bolivar added.

The three countries also encouraged ASEAN to observe arbitration ruling that will unrecognized or invalidate China’s claim over the known nine-dash line ownership in the South China Sea.

As for Beijing on the other hand, the discussion on the code of conduct among China and head of states of ASEAN may begin only if “outside parties” will not intervene.

“If there is no major disruption from outside parties, with that is the precondition, then we will consider during the November Leaders’ meeting, we will jointly announce the official start of the code of conduct consultation,” Wang Yi, Foreign Minister of China said.