Concerned Indonesia pitches for CoC for South China Sea

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South China sea
New Delhi, Jul 27: Concerned over the "rising" tension and enhanced "conflict" potential in the South China Sea, Indonesia made a strong pitch for a Code of conduct (CoC) which will be legally binding on the countries of the region and asserted "standing still is not an option".

Describing "overlapping" territorial claims in South China Sea as a challenge, Indonesian Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa said, "we are seeing now the issue becoming more and more acute and tensions tend to be rising and potential for conflict is ever more present and even more enhanced."

Delivering a lecture 'Indonesian view of the World' at ICWA here, he said the Code of conduct is meant to be the rule of the road which countries of the region must comply with and will be legally binding to ensure that the "potential for conflict is minimised, incidents are prevented and where the incidents take place, there are means to solve those challenges".

Here on a two-day visit, the minister co-chaired the fourth Joint Commission Meeting with his Indian counterpart SM Krishna earlier in the day during which strategic bilateral and regional issues, including South China Sea, were also discussed in the backdrop of increasing Chinese influence in the region.

South China Sea is witnessing a complex territorial dispute involving the surrounding countries with the interests of different nations including acquiring fishing areas around the two archipelagos, exploitation of crude oil and natural gas beneath the Islands and the strategic control of the core position.

In recent years, the region is witnessing an increased Chinese assertiveness which is claiming it as part of its territory.

PTI

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