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ASEAN Calls for Code of Conduct in South China Sea


The aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71) transits the South China Sea in this U.S. Navy picture taken October 29, 2015.

The aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71) transits the South China Sea in this U.S. Navy picture taken October 29, 2015.


The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) is calling for enforcement of a 13-year-old Code of Conduct in the South China Sea.

The call comes less than two weeks before the yearly ASEAN summit. The meeting opens in Kuala Lumpur November 21.

China’s development of islands in the South China Sea has increased tensions between China and ASEAN member countries. Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines and Vietnam also have territorial claims to the area.

In 2002, ASEAN member states agreed to a document known as the “Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea.” Its language calls for peace and security in the waterway. Other parts of the declaration express support for the respect of international law and freedom of navigation.

The sixth part of the declaration states that ASEAN members should protect the environment and support marine research. That part finishes by asking all to assist in search and rescue operations and to fight crime in the South China Sea.

The territorial dispute will take time to resolve said Kung Phoak, a political science professor from Cambodia. He said a code of conduct could decrease tensions. The measure could also prevent conflicts.

I’m George Grow.

Jim Dresbach reported this story for VOANews.com. George Grow was the editor.

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Words in This Story

code - n. a series of rules or laws; ideas about how to behave

conduct - n. the way that something is directed; the way someone acts

summit – n. a meeting or series of meetings between the leaders of two or more governments

navigation – n. the act, activity or process of finding the way to get to a place when you are traveling in a ship

marine - adj. involving or related to the sea or the creatures that live in the sea

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