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Tenth Senior Officials Meeting On the Implementation of the Declaration On the Conduct of the Parties In the South China Sea Held in Chengdu

2015/10/20

On October 20, 2015, China and ASEAN countries held the 10th Senior Officials Meeting on the Implementation of the Declaration on the Conduct of the Parties in the South China Sea (DOC) in Chengdu and the back-to-back 15th Joint Working Group Meeting. The meeting was attended by senior officials from the foreign ministries of China and the ten ASEAN countries. Parties had in-depth exchange of views on further implementing the DOC in a full and effective manner as well as strengthening practical maritime cooperation and carried out constructive consultation on a code of conduct under the DOC framework.

The parties all agreed that the DOC, as the first political document signed by China and ASEAN Member States regarding the South China Sea issue, has important significance as a milestone in the maintenance of peace and stability in the South China Sea. It is in the common interest of all parties to continue to implement the DOC fully and effectively.

On the implementation of the DOC, the meeting gave a comprehensive review of its implementation this year and fully recognized the progress that has been made. The parties agreed to make positive contribution to the sound and steady development of China-ASEAN Strategic Partnership by continuing the full and effective implementation of the DOC and deepening practical maritime cooperation. The meeting updated the work plan on the implementation of the DOC for 2015-2016 and identified three areas to pursue relevant work: first, continued support to the full and effective implementation of the DOC to further enhance mutual trust and practical cooperation; second, promotion of practical maritime cooperation projects under the DOC framework; third, greater cooperation on three aspects, namely, navigation safety and search and rescue, marine scientific research and environmental protection as well as combating transnational crime at sea and having in-depth discussions on the establishment of relevant technical committees.

On the consultation on a COC, parties agreed at the July meeting in Tianjin that the consultation had entered a new stage. This meeting discussed and formulated two preliminary leaving documents, namely, the list of crucial and complex issues and the list of elements for the outline of a COC. The meeting mandated the JWG to further review and study the two lists. Moreover, parties also had in-depth exchange of views on preventive measures to manage the risks at sea. The meeting confirmed that the Second List of Commonalities of the COC consultation, the Term of Reference of the EPEG and the aforementioned documents will be the main outcomes of this year's COC Consultation.

Parties reiterated the common political will to fully and effectively implement the DOC and work toward the early conclusion of a COC on the basis of consensus, and stated that continued efforts will be made to enhance maritime practical cooperation, strengthen mutual trust, properly handle differences and commit to build the South China Sea into a sea of peace, friendship and cooperation.

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