Asean, China to start negotiating code of conduct
Leaders of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) and China are expected to announce the start of negotiations for the actual code of conduct in the South China Sea at the Asean summit in Manila next month, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said on Thursday.
DFA spokesperson Robespierre Bolivar said the summit might come out with a statement welcoming the adoption of the framework for the code of conduct that was approved in August.
“Not to prejudge the outcome of the Asean-China summit [but], of course, we are hoping that the leaders will announce the start of the negotiations on the code of conduct based on the framework that was recently approved. That’s the big-ticket item in terms of the South China Sea,” Bolivar told reporters in Malacañang.
He said he was not expecting a formal document as a framework had been approved by the ministers. “What we are expecting is the Asean-China chairman statement will state that the leaders welcome the adoption of the framework … we call on the parties to begin consultations. Something like that.”
33,000 cops fielded
Twenty-two world leaders, including US President Donald Trump, are expected to attend the Asean summit in Manila from Nov. 13 to 15.
More than 33,000 policemen will guard the summit, especially after the recent siege of Marawi City by the Islamic State (IS)-inspired Maute terrorist group, according to Director Oscar Albayalde of the National Capital Region Police Office.
“As of this time, our intelligence monitoring shows no clear and imminent danger or any planned terrorist attack that could disrupt this historic event,” Albayalde said.
“But the threat of terrorism remains due to the possible retaliatory attacks from threat groups supportive of the Maute-IS or possible isolated atrocities from the [Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army-National Democratic Front] to embarrass the government,” he said.
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