S China Sea COC expected to complete in three years

S China Sea COC expected to complete in three years

The South China Sea . (Reuters/U.S. Navy)

Singapore (ANTARA News) - The leaders of ASEAN countries and China expect the Code of Conduct (COC) agreement on the South China Sea dispute to be completed in three years.

"Southeast Asian countries and China hope that the consultation process of the COC agreement on the South China Sea dispute can be completed in three years," Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi said at a press conference at the Suntec Convention Center, here, on Wednesday.

The hope was conveyed when 10 leaders of ASEAN member countries, China, and the ASEAN Secretary General gathered at the 21st ASEAN-China at the Suntec Convention Center, Singapore, on Wednesday.

For years, parties involved in the dispute in one of the world`s busiest waters, have been holding dialogues to prevent escalation of the conflict.

"This agreement is a very significant progress for resolving the South China Sea dispute," Marsudi stated.

Meanwhile, the Director General of ASEAN Cooperation at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Jose Tavares, noted that currently, the first process of discussion about the COC is being carried out.

"So, there will be first reading, second reading, and third reading of the COC. The first reading starts this year, so that by 2021, the COC on the South China Sea can be completed," he remarked.

Earlier, President Joko Widodo attended the 21st ASEAN-China Summit at the Suntec Convention Center, Singapore, on Wednesday.

At the event, the president was accompanied by Coordinating Minister for Politics, Law and Security Wiranto, Coordinating Minister for Human Development and Culture Puan Maharani, Maritime Affairs Coordinating Minister Luhut Binsar Panjaitan, Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi, and Trade Minister Enggartiasto Lukita.

Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong opened the event, followed by Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang.

Ten leaders of ASEAN countries, China, and the ASEAN Secretary General gathered at the event.

Reporting by Azis Kurmala
Editing by Libertina, Yoseph

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