On 15 and 16 August, 2016, China and ASEAN member states held the 13th Senior Officials’ Meeting (SOM) and the 18th Joint Working Group Meeting on the Implementation of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC) in Manzhouli, Inner Mongolia.
The meeting was held after the China-ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting and before the China-ASEAN Summit. During the meeting, parties had in-depth discussions on the full and effective implementation of the DOC and consultation on a Code of Conduct in the South China Sea (COC) and achieved positive outcomes.
The parties agreed to take the Joint Statement of the Foreign Ministers of ASEAN Member States and China on the Full and Effective Implementation of the DOC as a guide and continue to work for the full and effective implementation of the DOC. The parties reaffirmed the commitment to resolving disputes peacefully through negotiation and consultation, fostering rules-based regional framework to manage differences, deepening practical maritime cooperation, advancing COC consultation and maintaining peace and stability in the South China Sea. The meeting adopted two outcome documents, i.e., Guidelines for Hotline Communications among Senior Officials of the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of ASEAN Member States and China in Response to Maritime Emergencies at Sea and Joint Statement on the Application of the <Code for Unplanned Encounters at Sea> in the South China Sea and decided to submit them to the China-ASEAN Summit to be held in early September for issuance. The parties also exchanged views on ways to enhance institutional building for maritime cooperation and achieve the “four visions” on COC consultation without interference.
The parties reaffirmed their commitment to properly managing differences, increasing mutual trust and removing disturbances so as to make the South China Sea a sea of peace, friendship and cooperation. They agreed to take the 19th ASEAN-China Summit to Commemorate the 25th Anniversary of ASEAN-China Dialogue Relations as an opportunity to deepen cooperation and bring the China-ASEAN strategic partnership to a higher level.