ASEAN, China officially approve draft COC framework

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A half-century ago when ASEAN came into being, with just five members, now expanded to 10, China was enmeshed in the Cultural Revolution, Mao Zedong was still very much alive, the Gang of Four was asserting itself and the rise and rise of Deng Xiaoping was 11 years away.

Wang was also Foreign Minister when the DOC was adopted.

All the afore-mentioned achievements testify to the fact that China and ASEAN have the wisdom and capability to properly manage the disputes, formulate a set of regional rules that we all recognize, and preserve peace and stability in the South China Sea, according to the Chinese foreign minister.

"When the situation in the South China is generally stable, and if there is no major disruption from outside parties, with that as the precondition then we will consider during the November leaders' meeting, we will jointly announce the official start of the COC consultation", Wang told reporters.

Foreign ministers of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) on Saturday formally endorsed the framework of the code of conduct (COC) to address disputes in the South China Sea/West Philippine Sea for eventual adoption by the regional grouping and China.

In fact, an exasperated diplomat based in the Asean secretariat in Jakarta told an global news service then that it was like déjà vu how the heads of state and government were behaving in Vientiane-referring to their lack of unity and indecisiveness in handling the resulting tension from China's seizure of the Panatag or Scarborough Shoal.

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"The role they play is just to make sure that China just doesn't do what they want to do", Romualdez said on Thursday in Manila, referring to the U.S. military.

Foreign ministers of the ASEAN member states and China have approved the framework of Code of Conduct in the South China Sea, local media reported on Sunday, citing Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi.

Wang said by end of August, the joint working group will meet and the parties will discuss the thinking principles for the next stage of the COC.

He stressed that "China is seeking cooperation with ASEAN for development in the South China Sea". One of the most important issues to be debated is the recent missile tests carried out by the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK); that is why that country is participating in the meeting.

"We need to get used to this kind of to-ing and fro-ing".

The meetings will take place as the United Nations Security Council votes this weekend on a US-drafted resolution to toughen sanctions against North Korea to punish the isolated regime for its missile tests. Such exchange is useful not only for the other parties but also for the DPRK. Vietnam is on its own to have stronger language on the South China Sea.