Daily Lessons from Life 17 February 2018 - SCS COC
"China, ASEAN ‘affirm hope’ to complete code of conduct for South China Sea (SCS COC) disputes: Ng Eng Hen
SINGAPORE: China and ASEAN have “affirmed the hope” to complete the code of conduct to handle disputes in the South China Sea, said Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen on Saturday (Feb 17).
Speaking at the 54th Munich Security Conference roundtable in Germany, Dr Ng stressed that the approach of ASEAN member states to South China Sea issues has been “a pragmatic one”.
He noted that the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea, which ASEAN and China signed in 2002, took more than five years, and that this “frames our expectations for the code of conduct”.
"In the meantime, the ASEAN Defence Ministers Meeting (ADMM) has worked hard to produce consensus on practical measures that prevent mishaps and miscalculations, or if there are, to de-escalate issues," Dr Ng said.
He highlighted that there have been at least 38 reported small-scale incidents between claimant states' ship in the South China Sea since 2013. Dr Ng noted that many of these incidents involved fishing vessels that were eventually resolved peacefully.
Singapore, as ASEAN Chair for 2018, hopes to develop a set of guidelines for air encounters between regional military aircraft, he added.
“We seek to enhance practical cooperation and build confidence through the conduct of multilateral exercises, including the ASEAN-China Maritime Exercise this year,” Dr Ng said.
Dr Ng noted that an estimated one-third of all global shipping passed through the South China Sea.
"All countries have recognised the critical need for peace and stability in these waters," he said."
This area needs a lot of pragmatism for sure if one does not wish to see the same outcome as the Russian in East Ukraine where the Russian just invited itself to the territory because it can whatever the international community believed they were wrong!!
Why? Because China can adopt the same approach if it so wished!! Of course it will be bad behaviours n one that the China had taken pains to point out that's what the USA do but not something China will do!!
The right of navigation by sea n air must be free n the Chinese promises as much.
For the Asean countries with conflicting claims with China in the SCS, most, being pragmatic too, just want to make sure that the supposed abundance resources will be shared instead of just benefiting one country to the exclusion of others.
If this can be settled, give n take, things will be calm n the resources can truly be explored n benefits realised.
Does Asean needs the USA n Japan to meddle in this? Not really. Let Asean negotiate with China n only when the Chinese could not even convince any reasonable person fr accepting their claims should the USA n Japan get involved. That too, must only be at the invitation of Asean.
Peace to Asean n China so that there r peace n stability that people can build prosperity in it!!