NAY PYI TAW — Southeast Asian countries agreed on Nov 13 to increase mutual trust with China to enhance maritime security and resolve disputes by peaceful means without resorting to threat or use of force.
In a chairman’s statement issued after the 17th leaders’ meeting between the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) countries and China, the ASEAN reaffirmed the importance of maintaining peace, stability and maritime security in the region.
The ASEAN reaffirmed its commitment to the full and effective implementation of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea in its entirety as well as to work towards the early conclusion of a Code of Conduct (COC) in the South China Sea.
The statement also voiced support for the implementation of early harvest measures, including the adoption of the first list of commonalities on COC consultation, the establishment of a hotline platform among search and rescue agencies, a hotline among foreign ministries on maritime emergencies, and a table-top exercise on search and rescue.
The ASEAN agreed to designate the year 2015 as the ASEAN-China Year of Maritime Cooperation, welcoming China’s comprehensive plan for utilizing the ASEAN-China Maritime Cooperation Fund to provide financial support for their cooperation in the areas of maritime connectivity, marine science and technology, as well as maritime scientific research, search and rescue, disaster management and navigation safety.
Myanmar President U Thein Sein, whose country holds the rotating chair of the ASEAN this year, presided over meeting in the Myanmar capital of Nay Pyi Taw, which was attended by leaders of ASEAN countries and Premier Li Keqiang.