News / Asia

China Agrees to Discuss 'Code of Conduct' Rules

An aerial photo shows Chinese marine surveillance ships Haijian No. 49 (front) and Haijian No.50 cruising in the East China Sea, as the islands known as Senkaku isles in Japan and Diaoyu islands, April 23, 2013.
An aerial photo shows Chinese marine surveillance ships Haijian No. 49 (front) and Haijian No.50 cruising in the East China Sea, as the islands known as Senkaku isles in Japan and Diaoyu islands, April 23, 2013.
Simone Orendain
This week the Association of Southeast Asian Nations appeared to make progress on addressing territorial disputes in the South China Sea. Following meetings in Brunei, the group announced that China had agreed to discuss a set of rules known as the “code of conduct” to avoid conflict in the disputed waters.

Last year's ASEAN forum ended without a consensus because of squabbles over the South China Sea. The group concluded its meetings without a joint statement for the first time in its history.

This year, the joint communiqué emphasizes adhering to an 11-year-old non-binding agreement among China and the 10-member states to peacefully handle competing claims in the South China Sea. It also calls for “formal consultations” on a code of conduct in September in Beijing. The talks are expected to take place among lower level officials and focus on steps to avoid conflict. They are not expected to discuss the territorial disputes.

Philippine Foreign Affairs Spokesman Raul Hernandez says the country welcomes this development.

“And that is exactly what we have been pushing for, for a long time now, that we should be able to conclude a code of conduct with China in order to govern the activities in the West Philippine Sea,” he said.

Hernandez uses Manila’s local name for the South China Sea.

Relations between the Philippines and China chilled significantly after a two-month standoff last year between their ships at Scarborough Shoal, which the Philippines says is well within its 370-kilometer exclusive economic zone, as designated by international law. Then this May, Chinese civilian ships and a frigate were seen in the vicinity of Second Thomas Shoal, which the Philippines claims.

China, Taiwan and Vietnam claim practically the entire sea, while the Philippines, Malaysia and Brunei have partial claims. The sea is believed to be rich in oil and natural gas, with abundant fishing and well-traveled sea lanes.

Of the claimants, the Philippines has been the most vocal about alleged Chinese encroachment into its waters. This week Foreign Minister Albert del Rosario denounced what he called China’s “increasing militarization” of the sea. The comment came after Chinese state media warned of a “counterstrike” against the Philippines if it continues to provoke Beijing.

Security analyst Carl Thayer of the Australia Defense Force Academy says this year’s ASEAN gathering is more cohesive because foreign ministers from countries without any sovereign stake in the sea worked hard to build unity after last year’s meeting.

“Overwhelmingly Indonesia has taken a role." he said. "Thailand has picked up the ball as country coordinator and tried to move it. And China is trying to not be isolated and not have the issue internationalized to an even greater extent. And there’s a new leadership change in China and it’s responding to these changes.”

Thayer says China’s agreement to consultations on a more binding code is a step in the right direction.  But he says a lot will depend on how firmly it will commit to the terms of the code.

You May Like

Nigeria Incumbent in Tight Spot as Poll Nears

Muhammadu Buhari is running a strong challenge to Goodluck Jonathan, amid a faltering economy and Boko Haram security worries More

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo tells VOA that despite her fame, life is still a struggle as she waits for government's promise of support to arrive More

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

At least seven different indigenous groups in Ratanakiri depend mainly on forest products for their survival, say they face loss of their land, traditional way of life More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Samurai from: Japan
July 07, 2013 12:10 AM
Even today, Chinese ships are invading Japanese inherent waters. Chinese, thanks for your time-and-money-wasting jobs. We Japanese will never allow Chinese to invade our territories. Let's Chinese remember that Japanese navy completely beat out Chinese navy in Sino-Japan (Yellow-sea) battle.

by: Anonymous
July 06, 2013 2:18 PM
china and russia are the troublemaker in asian .them has been to impact to asian of others countries policy . the china of communist government always an liar.
the example is hongkong

by: defense china
July 06, 2013 2:11 PM
it's not discrimination of mainland of china.. but china and russia has been layout troops in asia pacific.. so USA must rebuild and deployment asian of troops with NATO for defense.( with allies of asian could sharing troops bases cost for save cost)
please rebuild troops in taiwan and philipine. and enhance japan and south korea of armament in USA bases for ensure benefit of USA during asian

by: i hate china from: taiwan
July 06, 2013 1:49 PM
compose an island common defense allies agreement .to defense russia and china communist. now the russia and china has been impact asian of safely in other democracy countries. however the agreement need USA joint all asian of allies and commucation and connect independent taiwan、 south korea with japan and philipine for troops base. continue and rebuild troops in taiwan and philipine bases about USA troops

by: Mhey from: Cordillera
July 06, 2013 4:58 AM
West Philippine sea belongs to Philippines,period!China get out from our territory.
In Response

by: jonathan huang from: canada
July 07, 2013 12:29 PM
the west phili sea is only about 10 miles wide. LOL

by: Demchigdonrov from: Mongolia
July 05, 2013 2:47 AM
I'm afraid that Chinese once agree with the code of conduct but not observe it. The rest of the world should not rely on Chinese who never respect international laws, other countries' sovereignty, and even ethics and morals.
In Response

by: Liu Yang from: China
July 05, 2013 9:21 PM
Yeah, that's why China built a Wall to keep the Monglian out, for fearing that they loot our city, rape our women, steal our land.
To the Amricans, you're the last one one earth to point fingers at China at any issue regarding the South China Sea. All the disputes involved were rootes of the US strategy of contain the communism countries after the Second World War
In Response

by: Ian from: USA
July 05, 2013 1:31 PM
You are absolutely right . It is in their "Art of war" book . Steal , rob , cheat , & misleading are Chinese's trick of the trade .
Just read the comment from the Chinese comrade "anonymous" below saying "South China sea belongs to China" Anyone could see clearly the vision of the so called China 's peaceful rise

by: Anonymous
July 05, 2013 2:16 AM
South China See belongs to China.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More