By: Roy Mabasa
Leaders of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and China are poised to give a green light to start the negotiation for a binding Code of Conduct (COC) in the South China Sea when they meet in Manila on Tuesday.
Foreign Affairs spokesman Robespierre Bolivar said the leaders on November 13 are expected to take note of the adoption and to announce the formal start of the negotiations of the actual COC that was adopted last August 6 during a meeting of foreign ministers in Manila.
“We expect the leaders to announce the negotiations but the actual start of the negotiations will probably happen sometime next year,” said Bolivar said during a press conference at the International Media Center over the weekend.
Bolivar explained that the framework is the outline of the actual Code and basis for the negotiation.
Bolivar said the Philippines will play a lead role since it will take over as country coordinator of ASEAN-China relations starting next year when the negotiations are starting up.