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ASEAN agrees to China's proposed initiatives to kickstart formal negotiations on COC

2017-08-06 19:22:00 (Beijing Time)         Chinadaily.com.cn

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MANILA -- The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) agreed on Sunday to China's proposed initiatives that will pave the way for launching formal negotiations on an actual Code of Conduct (COC) in the South China Sea, a spokesman of the Philippines said.

Robespierre Bolivar, spokesman for the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), said the foreign ministers of ASEAN and China support the "steps" that both sides will take to kick off the formal negotiations on the COC.

"There is a consensus between ASEAN and China," he told a news conference at the end of the ASEAN - China ministerial meeting.

Bolivar said the leaders of ASEAN and China are expected to announce at their November summit the start of the formal negotiations for the COC.

"The adoption of the framework at this (ministerial meeting) is a symbol of commitment by ASEAN and China to really push forward (an) effective and substantive code of conduct," he said.

Bolivar said the framework will be the basis for the negotiations on the actual Code of Conduct.