Australia urges South China Sea ruling as basis for ‘code of conduct’

MANILA: The Association of Southeast Asian Nations should use an international court’s rejection of China’s claims to almost all the South China Sea as basis for a code of conduct, Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said on Thursday.

Australia did not take sides in the South China Sea disputes, Bishop said, but it wanted to see “de-escalation of tension”, reiterating its opposition to China’s militarisation of man-made islands in the waters.

China and the 10-member ASEAN have been discussing for almost 15 years a set of rules aimed at avoiding conflict among rival claimants in the South China Sea.

“Given the arbitration has set out some very clear recommendations and findings, that can form the basis of the code of conduct,” Bishop said at a forum.

“There is a discussion to conclude a framework with China this year. I would urge the ASEAN and the Philippines’ leadership to go further and conclude a code of conduct as soon as possible.”

China claims most of the energy-rich South China Sea, through which about US$5 trillion worth of trade passes each year. Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam also have claims to parts of the sea.

Tensions reached a flashpoint after the Philippines filed an arbitration case against China in The Hague and as China started militarising artificial islands it built up on reefs in the South China Sea.

The tribunal ruled last year in Manila’s favour, but the election of Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has seen a dramatic U-turn in his country’s approach.

Duterte has said repeatedly he wants to avoid confrontation with China and sees no need to press it to abide by the ruling.

Bishop said ASEAN should “recognise the force that it has when it speaks with one voice and it should not take a backward step if it believes that the positions it is putting are in its interest and not be cowed to backing down because of any fears of what might occur”.

ASEAN’s statements of concern often avoid mentioning China by name. Much is at stake from upsetting China, as ASEAN members, to varying extents, need its trade, investment and tourists.

(Reporting by Karen Lema; Editing by Nick Macfie)

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This entry was posted in Biển Đông (SCS), UNCLOS and tagged , , , , by Trần Đình Hoành. Bookmark the permalink.

About Trần Đình Hoành

I am an attorney in the Washington DC area, with a Doctor of Law in the US, attended the master program at the National School of Administration of Việt Nam, and graduated from Sài Gòn University Law School. I aso studied philosophy at the School of Letters in Sài Gòn. I have worked as an anti-trust attorney for Federal Trade Commission and a litigator for a fortune-100 telecom company in Washington DC. I have taught law courses for legal professionals in Việt Nam and still counsel VN government agencies on legal matters. I have founded and managed businesses for me and my family, both law and non-law. I have published many articles on national newspapers and radio stations in Việt Nam. In 1989 I was one of the founding members of US-VN Trade Council, working to re-establish US-VN relationship. Since the early 90's, I have established and managed VNFORUM and VNBIZ forum on VN-related matters; these forums are the subject of a PhD thesis by Dr. Caroline Valverde at UC-Berkeley and her book Transnationalizing Viet Nam. I translate poetry and my translation of "A Request at Đồng Lộc Cemetery" is now engraved on a stone memorial at Đồng Lộc National Shrine in VN. I study and teach the Bible and Buddhism. In 2009 I founded and still manage dotchuoinon.com on positive thinking and two other blogs on Buddhism. In 2015 a group of friends and I founded website CVD - Conversations on Vietnam Development (cvdvn.net). I study the art of leadership with many friends who are religious, business and government leaders from many countries. In October 2011 Phu Nu Publishing House in Hanoi published my book "Positive Thinking to Change Your Life", in Vietnamese (TƯ DUY TÍCH CỰC Thay Đổi Cuộc Sống). In December 2013 Phu Nu Publishing House published my book "10 Core Values for Success". I practice Jiu Jitsu and Tai Chi for health, and play guitar as a hobby, usually accompanying my wife Trần Lê Túy Phượng, aka singer Linh Phượng.

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