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Jakarta Post

ASEAN-China Code of Conduct hangs in balance as pandemic delays talks

  • Dian Septiari
    Dian Septiari

    The Jakarta Post

PREMIUM
Jakarta   /   Fri, November 20, 2020   /  02:57 pm
ASEAN-China Code of Conduct hangs in balance as pandemic delays talks Vietnamese artists perform during the opening ceremony of the 37th ASEAN Summit in Hanoi on Nov. 12. Vietnam is hosting the summit and its related meetings online due to the COVID-19 pandemic. (AFP/Nhac Nguyen)

In late 2018, during the China-ASEAN Summit in Singapore, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang proposed a timeline of three years to conclude talks on a code of conduct (COC) for the South China Sea. However, the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic this year had become a major stumbling block in reaching the target, as negotiators were unable to meet physically to complete the instrument. Diplomats from the region have invariably complained about the security concerns that come with exercising diplomacy under virtual settings, with many countries insisting on using their own preferred “meeting” methods. An Indonesian official has even said it would be very difficult to negotiate the COC text in this manner. Read also: South China Sea COC can’t be negotiated virtually: RI official In his remarks at the China-ASEAN Summit held online last week, Li said China remained &ldq...