Jakarta (ANTARA) - Indonesia, this year's chair of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), is striving to accelerate the finalization of the negotiations on the Code of Conduct (CoC) on the South China Sea.

Director General of ASEAN Cooperation at the Foreign Affairs Ministry (MFA), Sidharto R. Suryodipuro, noted that the negotiating parties can finalize the CoC, added to the fact that foreign ministers of the association are fully supporting the code finalization.

"The most important thing is to find a way to expedite the CoC deliberation process," Suryodipuro stated during a press conference ahead of the 56th ASEAN Foreign Ministers' Meeting (AMM) in Jakarta on Monday (July 10) evening.

The director general noted that the bloc's members have made significant progress in the negotiations.

"In general, we (the MFA) gladly welcome the bilateral engagements at the high level, and we affirm our support for this progress through diplomatic channels," Suryodipuro remarked.

The CoC is expected to serve as an instrument to prevent conflict from occurring, especially between countries that are involved in maritime disputes over the sea.

China has been persistent in its claim of sovereignty on majority of the South China Sea and seen increasingly aggressive by conducting reclamation on islands in the area.

However, the claim is at odds with those laid by Taiwan as well as four ASEAN countries: the Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei Darussalam, and Vietnam.

Meanwhile, Indonesia has been in a dispute with China over the fishing rights in the former's Natuna Islands, located in the southern part of the disputed waters.

As a result, in 2002, China and ASEAN countries agreed on the signing of the Declaration on the Conduct (DoC) of parties on the South China Sea, which served as Beijing's first support for multilateral settlements on the issue.

The declaration itself was formulated in a bid to achieve several goals, including to build confidence among the parties as well as to arrange a legally binding formal document, which is the CoC.

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Translator: Yashinta Difa, Tegar Nurfitra
Editor: Azis Kurmala
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