KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia is encouraged by the progress to finalise the code of conduct (CoC) among claimant countries in the South China Sea, but expressed concern that recent activities in the area can threaten peace and security.
Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Anifah Aman did not discount that the South China Sea dispute would be discussed at the 48th Asean Ministerial Meeting (AMM) here since four of the six claimant countries were Asean members. The other two are China and Taiwan.
“I expect that a number of countries will speak and put forward their views on matters relating to the South China Sea,” Anifah said.
“Malaysia, Brunei, Philippines and Vietnam are fully committed to the full and effective implementation of the Declaration of Conduct of Parties (DoC) in the South China Sea.
“The recent senior officials meeting between Asean and China in Tianjin has agreed to proceed to the next stage of negotiation to establish the CoC.
“This is an important progress,” he said ahead of the AMM which begins here today at PWTC.
During the six-day AMM, the 10 Asean Foreign Ministers will discuss the setting up of the Asean Community and the Asean Post-2015 Vision, among others.
They will also meet their dialogue partners including from China, the United States, Japan and Australia.
Disputes have erupted with the claimant countries, blaming each other for building military and civil facilities on the contested reefs.
Anti-China riots broke out in Vietnam last year when China deployed an oil rig in a section of the South China Sea that was claimed by both countries.
The Philippines has sought international arbitration to resolve the dispute, a move criticised by China as a betrayal to the commitment to solve the issue through dialogue and negotiations.
As tension continued to flare over the disputed waters, China has openly warned Japan and the United States against meddling in the conflicts.
Anifah said while all efforts were taken to finalise the CoC, recent developments in the area had raised tension and eroded trust and confidence among the interested parties.
“These developments must be addressed to ensure that peace, stability and security in the South China Sea is not adversely affected.”
Did you find this article insightful?