ASEAN foreign ministers “express grave concerns” over “militarization” of some areas in South China Sea
Foreign ministers of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) have “expressed grave concerns” over what they “saw and perceived as the militarization of certain areas in the South China Sea.
In a press conference Tuesday after the meeting of the ASEAN foreign ministers in Boracay, Philippine Foreign Secretary Perfecto Yasay Jr said: They have noticed .. even China has installed weapon system in these facilities that they have establish.”
“They have expressed strong concern about this,” said Yasay.
Yasay said this will part of the code of conduct ASEAN foreign ministers are “trying to establish.”
But for a code of conduct to be “meaningful and effective, it must be legally binding,” explained Yasay.
“It must cover the broadest area of how disputes will be resolve and the conduct of the party claimants with respect to the dispute,” Yasay added.
Discussions on a code of conduct in the ASEAN have been taking place since 2002.
“I think we should persevere, we should be optimistic, we should be determine in making sure that we will as soon as possible will be able to come up with coc that we would hope would be legally binding and enforcible,” he said.
A US think-tank reported that China has installed weapons system on the islands in the South China Sea that the country has occupied.
Yasay said ministers hoped that since China has been pushing for the approval of the framework of code of conduct, they “expressed confidence we will be able to achieve these goals.
“Whether or not, China will be able to address these concerns or claims that was expressed today is another situation that China will have to contend with. But we would hope that, because China has been all along pressing for this expeditious approval of a framework of conduct and we would be coming up with a conduct and on that basis we expressed confidence that we will be able to achieve these goals,” said Yasay.
The Philippines is the chairman of the ASEAN this year. DMS