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People's Daily Online

China's wish to complete talks on South China Sea COC in 3 years "good sign" : Philippine defense chief

People's Daily Online

(Xinhua) 17:50, December 07, 2018

MANILA, Dec. 7 (Xinhua) -- Philippine Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said Friday that China's wish to complete talks on the Code of Conduct (COC) in the South China Sea in three years is "a good sign" and "good news."

During the latest China-ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) summit in Singapore last month, China said it hopes to complete talks on the COC in the South China Sea within three years.

"It's a good sign. If we can finish it earlier, the better. It's good news (to the Philippines)," Lorenzana told Xinhua in an interview on the sidelines of an academic forum in Manila.

Lorenzana stressed the urgency of concluding the consultation on the COC, adding it will set up a mechanism that will guide "everybody's actions" in the South China Sea.

"If we have the COC then we have an assurance that we do something in accordance with the COC, then there will be no misunderstanding or miscalculations," Lorenzana added.

China and ASEAN states signed the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties (DOC) in the South China Sea in 2002. It outlines the most important principles in the management of disputes on the South China Sea. Consultations for the COC were launched by the two sides in 2013. Both are aimed at safeguarding peace and stability in the region.

In August 2017, China and ASEAN countries drew up and approved the framework of the COC in the South China Sea.

In August 2018, China and ASEAN arrived at a single draft negotiating text of the COC in the South China Sea.

ASEAN, which was founded in 1967, groups Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. China is an important dialogue partner of ASEAN.

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