- Sputnik International
Find top stories and features from Asia and the Pacific region. Keep updated on major political stories and analyses from Asia and the Pacific. All you want to know about China, Japan, North and South Korea, India and Pakistan, Southeast Asia and Oceania.

Beijing, ASEAN Partners to Sign Deal to Avoid Clashes in South China Sea

© AFP 2023 / STRThis photo taken on May 10, 2016 shows crew members of China's South Sea Fleet taking part in a logistics supply drill near the James Shoal area on South China Sea
This photo taken on May 10, 2016 shows crew members of China's South Sea Fleet taking part in a logistics supply drill near the James Shoal area on South China Sea - Sputnik International
As tensions simmer over disputed areas in the South China Sea, China and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) will sign an agreement to mitigate the risk of armed confrontation in the region, the Philippines foreign ministry confirmed on Friday.

The adoption of a mechanism for handling unplanned encounters and emergency situations in the region was approved in August by Beijing and ASEAN. Several members of the 10-country organization are involved in the disputes.

The parties agreed on the implementation of communication protocols and created a hotline for top officials in the event of possible naval confrontations in the South China Sea’s contested waters.

The protocols will be signed at the three-day ASEAN summit in Laos next week, according to Philippines Foreign Affairs Assistant Secretary Helen de la Vega.

In this undated photo released by Xinhua News Agency, a Chinese H-6K bomber patrols the islands and reefs in the South China Sea. - Sputnik International
Beijing Develops New Long Range Bomber as Part of ‘Transformation’ Process
Speaking at a news conference, de la Vega highlighted that the Code for Unplanned Encounters at Sea (CUES) arrangement is the first agreement of its kind.

“It’s one way of de-escalating tensions in the South China Sea,” she told reporters.

The ongoing South China Sea disputes include conflicting claims by China, Taiwan, the Philippines, Vietnam, Brunei and Malaysia. Beijing claims the entire territory of the sea, which is crossed by important trade routes and is rich in oil and gas deposits.

In this light, the upcoming agreement is crucial to downgrade tensions, a senior Philippines navy commander claimed.

“This is very important because any accident that can lead to a major confrontation will be avoided if our navies and coast guards are communicating with each other,” he said, explaining that it in the past there were situations when Chinese ships refused to contact Philippine Navy vessels upon being approached.

In this undated photo released Saturday, Aug. 6, 2016, by China's Xinhua News Agency, a pair of Chinese fighter jets fly during a patrol over the South China Sea - Sputnik International
US, China Prepare for Electronic Warfare Standoff in South China Sea
Tensions over the contested territories were exacerbated after Manila filed a lawsuit against China to the Permanent Court of Arbitration at the Hague in 2013. The court ruled on July 12 that China has no claim in the maritime region, though Beijing refused to acknowledge the legitimacy of the court.

On August 23 Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte made steps to deescalate the situation by claiming that he would not raise the issue at the ASEAN summit. The move was strongly supported by Beijing.

However, some parties that are not directly involved in the disputes are not satisfied with the outcome. The United States, Japan and Australia, which all take part in the summit, are expected to insist that China comply with the Hague ruling.

To participate in the discussion
log in or register
Заголовок открываемого материала