Indonesia is ready for ASEAN cooperation to finalize COC on SCS

JAKARTA (Antara) – Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi underlined Indonesia's readiness to work with all ASEAN members, including the Philippines, to soon finalize the Code of Conduct (COC) in the South China Sea (SCS).

On Tuesday (January 9) in Manila, Philippine Foreign Secretary Enrique A. Marsudi made the statement after a bilateral meeting with Manalo.

„We welcome the Declaration on Maintaining and Promoting Stability in the Maritime Sphere in Southeast Asia by ASEAN Foreign Ministers on December 30 last year,” the minister said, according to his press release.

According to Marsudi, the ASEAN Foreign Ministers' Statement is an important step towards ensuring peace, stability and prosperity in the SCS.

The Philippines and China have been in frequent disputes in the waters of the SCS in recent months, particularly near the disputed Second Thomas Shoal, part of the Spratly Islands.

China claims sovereignty over almost all parts of the SCS, including parts of the Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZ) of Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Vietnam.

In 2016, the Permanent Court of Arbitration ruled that China's claims had no legal basis.

In November 2023, the Philippines proposed a new code of conduct for stability and peace in the SCS.

The proposal follows concerns echoed by Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. over protracted negotiations between Southeast Asian countries and China over the COC on the SCS.

ASEAN and China signed the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea in November 2002. This is the first time that China has adopted a multilateral agreement on the issue.

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