Diplomat discusses ‘code of conduct’ in the West Philippine Sea ahead of UNGA address

A UN-named U.S. official who reportedly told him that if the final Code of Conduct or COC on the West Philippine Sea exactly mirrors international maritime law — it could be a way to convince China to observe international law in the disputed territories.

The COC on the West Philippine Sea — which lays out norms, rules and responsibilities of parties involved like China and the Philippines — has been drafted and initially agreed upon by members of the ASEAN and China back in 2002.

But to this day, that draft has not been finalized.

Teddy Locsin, who recently spoke at the Asia Society, said that for now China has softened its stance on issues they previously contested, such as the presence of US troops in the disputed areas.

Despite tensions in the West Philippine Sea — during the celebration of the 70th founding anniversary of the People’s Republic of China, Chinese ambassador to the Philippines Zhao Jianhua said China wants to maintain peace with the Philippines. 

Both countries await the final COC, which would truly determine how they should act towards each other in the West Philippine Sea.


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