PANO – Senior officials of ASEAN member countries and China gathered in Beijing on January 14th to hold the fourth meeting (SOM) to discuss the implementation of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea (DOC).

Some ASEAN Foreign Ministers (photo: AFP)

Earlier, on January 13th, the ASEAN-China Joint Working Group met together for their 7th session to prepare for the ASEAN-China SOM.

As usual, the ASEAN-China SOM focused its discussions on the reviewing of DOC implementation in the past time, exchanging ideas and measures to practice document guiding the implementation of DOC and scheduling the activities for SOM and the joint working group in 2012.

At the meeting, parties put an emphasis on the principles in DOC, especially the need to ensure peace, stability, security, maritime security, peaceful solutions of disputes, prevention of the use of force or threat of the use of force, compliance of international laws, especially the 1982 UN Convention of the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS 1982), as well as further building of confidence.

Reviewing the DOC implementation, delegates stressed that parties should make more efforts to fully and effectively implement the DOC commitments and regulations, should honour coastal nations’ sovernreignty and jurisdiction over their economic exclusive zones and continental shelves under UNCLOS 1982, should discuss measures to build confidence under the principles in the document guiding the implemention of DOC passed in July 2011, and should not complicate the situation further.

The meeting also focused on the mechanism to ensure the effective implementation of DOC, improve the role and effectiveness of the ASEAN-China SOM and the working group; they also dicussed the holding of seminars to share experiences in cooperation and confidence building in maritime environment, search and rescue and maritime ecology and bio-diversity.

Delegates suggested that the involved parties should heighten the significance of DOC in 2012 as the year marks 10 years of the signing of DOC.

In its capacity of the ASEAN-China ties coordinator, the Vietnamese delegation affirmed that the ASEAN common stance is to promote peace, security, safety and maritime freedom. These are also of common interests and desire of regional and international nations, so involved parties should join efforts to meet the end. Especially, claimants in the East Sea and islands should honour the sovereignty and jurisdiction of the coastal nations over their economic exclusive zones and continental shelves under UNCLOS 1982. Vietnam also supported ASEAN and China in holding dialogues to promote confidence-building in order to fully implement DOC and to early complete the code of conducts in the East Sea.

Delegates agreed on the organisation of the next ASEAN-China SOM and meetings of the joint working group in 2012.

Translated by Thu Nguyen