South China Sea Code of Conduct talks likely in Asean Summit – DFA official
MANILA, Philippines — Discussions on the Code of Conduct (COC) in the South China Sea cannot be avoided during the 35th Asean Summit in Thailand, but “intensive negotiations” could not be expected, a foreign affairs official said Monday.
“I think it will be featured in the discussions, it’s unavoidable kasi doon sa meeting na yon ng mga leaders they will have a parang tour of the horizon of what’s happening throughout the region,” Foreign Affairs Assistant Secretary Junever Mahilum-West said in a press briefing in Malacañang.
“So it will be discussed there and we could expect the countries to give their positions. But as to intensive negotiations, we don’t expect that to happen in this meeting, in these kinds of meetings,” Mahilum-West added.
“I wouldn’t want to preempt what the President would say but in terms of looking at the conditions, the situations on the ground, or at sea in the South China Sea, for example, I think the President would be expected to say something about it,” Mahilum-West said.
Duterte and Chinese President Xi JinPing earlier agreed to fast track the negotiations in finalizing the COC in the South China Sea.
During 34th Asean Summit earlier this year, Duterte expressed disappointment over the delay in the crafting of the COC in the disputed territory./gsg
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