Minister: Asean foreign ministers to discuss South China Sea Code of Conduct

Saifuddin said the talks on the matter would be discussed at the Asean Foreign Ministers Meeting in Singapore next week. — Picture by Firdaus Latif
Saifuddin said the talks on the matter would be discussed at the Asean Foreign Ministers Meeting in Singapore next week. — Picture by Firdaus Latif

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KUALA LUMPUR, July 25 — Malaysia wants the talks on establishing the Code of Conduct (CoC) in the South China Sea to be finalised quickly to ensure peace, security and stability in those waters, the Dewan Rakyat was told today.

Foreign Minister Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah said the talks on the matter would be discussed at the Asean Foreign Ministers Meeting in Singapore next week.

He said the CoC was seen to be more effective in ensuring peace in those waters compared to the toothless Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea.

“The process of establishing the CoC should be expedited and the matter is already on the table of the Asean Foreign Ministers Meeting to be held in Singapore next week.

“I am not saying that the CoC has fangs but let’s establish it first. If the CoC has been established and the aggressive situation remains widespread, we will have to view it from another angle,” he said when replying to a supplementary question, from Datuk Seri Dr Ronald Kiandee (BN-Beluran).

Saifuddin said the CoC being negotiated would serve as a rules-based framework that all stakeholders should comply with when undertaking any activity in the South China Sea.

On another matter, he said Malaysia along with Brunei, the Philippines and Vietnam did not recognise China’s overlapping claims in the South China Sea based on the ‘nine-dash line’ because the claim was not in accordance with international law including the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).

Saifuddin said Malaysia’s stand on the issue of the South China Sea was also clear, and included the need for all parties to ensure peace, security, stability, and freedom of navigation and aviation in the area.

He said all parties should also avoid actions of a provocative nature and which could cause tension as and avoid military-related actions, and all claims and solutions should be based on international law including UNCLOS. — Bernama

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