"Tensions may always exist but are more manageable. Countries are more open to working together in handling disputes (in the South China Sea) in a peaceful manner," Head of the Indonesian Ministry of Foreign Affairs` Policy Assessment and Development Siswo Pramono stated in Jakarta, Tuesday.
The statement was delivered by Pramono at the "Germany-Indonesia Strategic Dialogue" seminar held at the Auditorium of the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS).
According to Pramono, the matters discussed and included in the CoC on the South China Sea in principle are regarding ways to deal with disputes in the region based on the international law and norms.
"In the CoC, we do not make rules, but take rules from various existing sources, such as the UNCLOS (the UN Convention on the Law of the International Sea)," he noted.
Meanwhile, Head of the CSIS International Relations Department Shafiah F. Muhibat assessed that some progress had been achieved in the efforts to deal with disputes and reduce tensions in the South China Sea.
"If we want to observe a problem from an optimistic viewpoint, then there is a sense of reduced tensions in the South China Sea, especially in the past two years (2017 and 2018), as compared to 2016 when there was an arbitration ruling on the South China Sea," Muhibat noted.
She highlighted the progress made in an effort to maintain peace and stability in the South China Sea region, one of which being maritime security training activities between the ASEAN and China in 2018. In addition, ASEAN member countries and China have, over the past few years, been active in the workshop on protection of the marine environment.
Regarding the CoC, Muhibat also assessed that significant progress had been achieved in the CoC negotiations, as in 2017, ASEAN countries and China had agreed on the CoC framework and decided to start CoC negotiations.
In August 2018, the ASEAN and China had agreed on a single draft text of negotiations on the South China Sea CoC that would serve as a basis for the use of CoC in handling disputes in the South China Sea region.
Reporting by Yuni Arisandy
Editing by Eliswan Azly