Singapore (ANTARA News) - The Director General of ASEAN Cooperation at the Indonesian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Jose Tavares, is optimistic that the initial discussion on the Code of Conduct (CoC) in the South China Sea can be completed by 2019.

"The ASEAN member countries have agreed on a single negotiating narrative on the South China Sea, and currently, we are in the first process of reading the narrative," Tavares stated on the sidelines of the 33rd ASEAN Summit here on Wednesday.

The agreement on the single negotiating narrative shows that the ASEAN member countries have the same view on the issue.

"This will facilitate the negotiation process with China. We believe that the negotiation process will run smoothly," Tavares noted.

The details of the single negotiation draft on the South China Sea are being finalized during the series of the 33rd ASEAN Summit and Related Meetings in Singapore.

China and the 10 ASEAN member countries have developed a code of ethics to resolve the South China Sea dispute.

However, the process to synchronize the concept of resolving the South China Sea dispute runs slow.

"Previously, each ASEAN member countries and China had COC documents, causing them to have different views on the issue," he remarked.

President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) is scheduled to attend several ASEAN summits with partner countries, namely the 21st ASEAN-China Summit, the 20th ASEAN-South Korea Summit, the 3rd ASEAN-Russia Summit, the 21st ASEAN-Japan Summit, the 2nd RCEP (Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership) Summit, and the 6th ASEAN-US Summit, at the Suntec Convention Center, Singapore, on Wednesday.

The meetings are a series after the 33rd ASEAN Summit, which was held on Tuesday night (Nov 13).

In addition, Jokowi will hold bilateral meetings with a number of state leaders, including Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, Chilean President Sebastian Pinera, Russian President Vladimir Putin, US Vice President Mike Pence, and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

The president also had an official ASEAN dinner hosted by Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.

The president delivered a speech at the plenary meeting of the 33rd ASEAN Summit by highlighting the importance of ASEAN togetherness to help overcome crisis at Rakhine State, Myanmar, and the development of the concept of cooperation in the Indo-Pacific region.

The Head of State will be in Singapore until Thursday (Nov 15).

Reporting by Azis Kurmala
Editing by Libertina

Reporter: ANTARA
Editor: Bustanuddin
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