Press Trust of india

Situation in South China Sea complicated, COC a positive step: Vietnam

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New Delhi, Feb 27 : The situation in the South China Sea is “still complicated” but a positive is that China and ASEAN countries have committed to start talks on the Code of Conduct (CoC) to handle the over-lapping territorial claims, Vietnamese envoy Ton Sinh Thanh said today.

Ton said Hanoi attaches “importance to its neighbours, especially big neighbours like China”.

“The situation there (South China Sea) is still complicated. The development there is positive, especially (with) the framework for the CoC (that) has been approved by both China and ASEAN. They have committed to start the negotiations of the CoC,” Ton told reporters while responding to a question on the issue.

In November last year, China and the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)  formally endorsed the framework adopted by their foreign ministers in August for a code of conduct (COC) to handle overlapping territorial claims in the South China Sea.

China, Taiwan, the Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei and Vietnam have over-lapping territorial claims in the sea, known to be rich in hydrocarbons.

Ton said Vietnam and China have a strong economic relations.

“We should not make this issue complicated,” he added.

Asked about the Vietnamese view on China’s One Belt One Road Initiative (OBOR), he said Vietnam is “studying and gauging” the project.

Part of the OBOR, the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project passes through Pakistan-administered-Kashmir (PaK). India has raised its concerns over OBOR.

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