ASEAN chief: Legally-binding East Sea Code of Conduct needed hinh anh 1ASEAN Secretary General Le Luong Minh. (Photo: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) – Secretary General of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Le Luong Minh on November 14 stressed that a legally-binding Code of Conduct (COC) is necessary to ease tensions over territorial claims in the East Sea.

In an interview with Japanese media outlets, Minh said that the 15 year-old Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea (DOC) that set loose guidelines for actions in the waters has proven ineffective, resulting in tensions frequently rising over land reclamations and maritime activities.

Evaluating the DOC as important in politics and not having any legally-binding character, Minh stated that the guidelines have not been implemented effectively or fully, with certain countries using them to suit their own interests.

In August, ASEAN member states and China adopted a framework for a COC in the East Sea after four years of negotiations. This is an initial step for negotiations for an effective and legally-binding COC which is expected to maintain regional peace and stability.-VNA