PHNOM PENH (Cambodia Herald) - Both ASEAN and China are committed to developing a code of conduct (COC) for the South China Sea, ASEAN Secretary General Surin Pitsuwan said Monday.
Surin was speaking after the first informal meeting of senior ASEAN and Chinese officials on a code of conduct for the waterway which is claimed in whole or in part by China and ASEAN members Brunei, Malaysia, Vietnam and the Philippines.
At the meeting on Sunday, ASEAN showed China the key elements of a draft code of conduct, officials said, describing the meeting as productive.
"The environment and the sentiment is very good. Both sides are committed to work on the COC," Surin told reporters as the annual meeting of ASEAN foreign ministers got underway.
"They are quite enthusiastic to move forward. This has something to do with the heightened attention to the issues, the realization and awareness that the region must be able to show the international community that it is manageable and we are trying to manage it."
Vietnamese Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh said: "All efforts must be aimed at (preventing) incidents in the South China Sea."
In a statement, the Chinese embassy said ASEAN and China had had an informal discussion on how to jointly formulate a code of conduct in the South China Sea.