ASEAN Reaffirms Commitment to UNCLOS

Wahyu Dwi Anggoro    •    25 Juli 2016 14:46 WIB
south china sea
ASEAN Reaffirms Commitment to UNCLOS
The 49th Asean Ministerial Meeting in Vientiane, Laos (Photo:AFP/Hoang Dinh Nam), Jakarta: ASEAN reaffirmed their commitment to the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) as one of the means to resolve disputes in the South China Sea.

The regional grouping issued the Joint Communique of the 49th ASEAN Ministerial Meeting on Monday, July 25.

"We further reaffirmed the need to enhance mutual trust and confidence, exercise self-restraint in the conduct of activities and avoid actions that may further complicate the situation, and pursue peaceful resolution of disputes in accordance with international law," the joint statement said.

The joint statement also urged the effective implementation of the Declaration of Conduct (DOC) and the early adoption of the code of Conduct (COC) by increasing the frequency of meetings between China and ASEAN countries.

"We highlighted the urgency to intensify efforts to achieve further substantive progress in the implementation of the DOC in its entirety as well as substantive negotiations for the early conclusion of the COC including the outline and timeline of the COC," it continued

However, ASEAN failed to mention a recent ruling by the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) which concluded that China's nine dash line in the South China Sea is not in accordance with international law.

The content of the joint statement must be decided by consensus. Cambodia and Laos are widely known as China's allies inside the group.