THE Philippines officially turned over to Myanmar the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)-China Dialogue coordinatorship, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said.
Myanmar assumed its new role during the virtual Asean-China Post Ministerial Conference on Aug. 3.
Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. reported that the Philippines, during its co-chairmanship with China from 2018 to 2021, has tried to make as much progress on the Code of Conduct on the South China Sea (COC) negotiations even while the pandemic is ongoing.
In a statement, Locsin said as outgoing Country Coordinator for negotiations on the Code of Conduct, the Philippines tried to make as much progress on the COC negotiations as circumstances allowed.
“Soon we will turn over the work to Myanmar. Speaking of whom, we recognize that given its proximity to China, we hope for China’s initiative in restoring peace and freedom to that said land,” he added.
In 2017, the Asean and Beijing adopted the COC framework that will govern the actions of countries like China, Taiwan, the Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei and Vietnam which have overlapping claims in the disputed South China Sea.
Locsin in September 2020 said he will “push through to the 2nd Draft and get started on the 3rd before handing the China coordinatorship” to Myanmar.
At the Asean Post Ministerial Conference with China, Locsin reiterated that disputes in the area “should be resolved peacefully in accordance with international law, including the 1982 UNCLOS and in the recent light of the 2016 Arbitral Award which singles out no one, was carefully crafted as to be unusable as a weapon for disputation; and most helpful in clarifying maritime issues.”
Locsin added that Beijing deserved a status upgrade as the bloc’s comprehensive strategic partner as he cited the broad partnership between Asean and China.