ASEAN leaders, China discuss South China Sea cooperation, COVID-19 response

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 05 2020 12:55 AM

MANILA--Senior officials of Southeast Asian governments and China discussed maritime cooperation concerning the South China Sea and COVID-19 response efforts to address the pandemic, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said on Saturday.

"The senior officials exchanged views on developments in the region, including the collective aspiration to agree to an effective and substantive Code of Conduct in the South China Sea that will contribute to regional peace, security and stability, and is in accordance with international law, including the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS)," the DFA said in a statement.

The 26th ASEAN-China Senior Officials' Consultation was held via video conference "to review progress in ASEAN-China Strategic Partnerships and discuss its future direction," the DFA added.

As COVID-19 rages across the globe, the same officials also promised to collaborate by exchanging information and sharing best practices against the disease, among others.

“As we approach the 30th anniversary of our relations in 2021, we look forward to more comprehensive mechanisms to advance ASEAN-China cooperation in various priority areas," Foreign Affairs Assistant Secretary Junever Mahilum-West said in a statement.

"We hope to maximize our engagements towards positive outcomes in our region. This important partnership has proven instrumental in collectively responding to and mitigating the effects of COVID-19." 

The Philippines, the country coordinator for ASEAN-China dialogue relations from 2018 to 2021, co-chaired the meeting with China.