ASEAN, China agree on sea code framework

MANILA, Philippines – The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and China on Thursday, May 19, finished drafting the framework of a legally binding Code of Conduct (COC) in the disputed South China Sea.

DFA spokesman Robespierre Bolivar confirmed this in a text message on Thursday evening. 

"The Philippines welcomes the completion of the drafting of the framework of the Code of Conduct," Bolivar said in a statement.

"We reaffirm our commitment to completing an effective Code using this agreed upon framework as basis," he added.

Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Liu Zhemin explained that "the framework was comprehensive and took into account the concerns of all sides," according to Reuters.

"We hope that our consultations on the code are not subject to any outside interference," Liu added.

The Philippines, which is chairing ASEAN this year, earlier targeted to finish the framework COC by June 2017.

The framework COC is a huge step toward finalizing the Code of Conduct itself.

The proposed COC is a binding agreement to ensure peace and stability in the South China Sea, parts of which the Philippines claims as the West Philippine Sea. –

Paterno R. Esmaquel II

Paterno R. Esmaquel II, news editor of Rappler, specializes in covering religion and foreign affairs. He obtained his MA Journalism degree from Ateneo and later finished MSc Asian Studies (Religions in Plural Societies) at RSIS, Singapore. For story ideas or feedback, email him at