Australian Ambassador to the Philippines Amanda Gorely (Source: dutertenewsportal.com)

Hanoi (VNA)
– The Australian Government has called on the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and China to negotiate a Code of Conduct (COC) in the East Sea without prejudice to the rights and interests of third-party states in the strategic waters.

“We urge parties to ensure the Code of Conduct is consistent with existing international rules, including those in the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). The Code of Conduct should not prejudice the interests of third parties or the rights of all states under international law, including UNCLOS,” Australian Ambassador to the Philippines Amanda Gorely said at a forum on the rules-based international system hosted by the Stratbase ADR Institute in Taguig city on August 17.

According to the ambassador, as a member of the Indo-Pacific region and the ASEAN’s oldest dialogue partner, developments in the East Sea matter to Australia and the COC negotiation has the potential to help manage the disputes and deescalate tensions.

Gorely said the document must reinforce the existing regional architecture, the ASEAN’s centrality and “it should strengthen parties’ commitments to ease actions that would complicate or escalate disputes, particularly militarization,” among others.

Any document that deprives non-signatory states their rights under the international law would be a cause of concern, she added.-VNA