Top Stories : ASEAN-China cooperation moves forward at the 8th ASEAN-China SOM
During 28-29 October 2014, H.E. Mr. Sihasak Phuangketkeow, Permanent Secretary for Foreign Affairs, and H.E. Mr. Liu Zhenmin, Vice Foreign Minister of China, co-chaired the 8th ASEAN-China Senior Officials’ Meeting on the Implementation of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC) in Bangkok, Thailand. The Meeting took stock of the implementation of the DOC and the consultations on the Code of the Conduct in the South China Sea (COC) by building upon the achievements made at the 7th SOM on DOC held in April of this year and the Special ASEAN-China SOM recently held in Guilin, China.
During the 8th ASEAN-China SOM on DOC, the Senior Officials discussed efforts to strengthen the full and effective implementation of the DOC and expedited the early conclusion of the COC, as agreed upon by the ASEAN-China Foreign Ministers’ Meeting at the ASEAN Post Ministerial Conference with China in August earlier this year.
Both sides agreed on intensifying consultations at the Senior Officers and working levels. ASEAN’s and China’s Senior Officials recognized the important role and work of the Joint Working Group (JWG) in assisting the SOM. Both sides also agreed to adopt the JWG’s proposals on early harvest measures such as setting up a hotline platform on maritime emergencies among search and rescue (SAR) agencies and among Ministry of Foreign Affairs at the SOM level and conducting a tabletop exercise on SAR in 2015.
The Meeting underscored the need to expand the commonalities and identified elements that could provide value-added beyond the DOC in a more practical way. On this issue, the Meeting adopted the First List of Commonalities, which has covered broad objectives of the COC, and agreed to have the JWG work on the Second List of Commonalities, which would be more comprehensive. The Senior Officers also welcomed the Work Plan on the Implementation of the DOC for 2014-2015, which reflect the effort towards realizing the full and effective implementation of the DOC. The Meeting recognized that the process of consultation between ASEAN and China have been as important as the substance the COC itself.
ASEAN and China reaffirmed the importance of the ASEAN-China relations as pillar of regional peace and stability and agreed that the South China Sea issue, while important, should not affect the overall relationship between ASEAN and China.
29 October 2014