The Multilateralist

China Cautions ASEAN to Go Slow on South China Sea

China Cautions ASEAN to Go Slow on South China Sea

For the last week, Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi has been on a diplomatic tour through several southeast Asian nations. One key theme during the trip has been the status of a long-awaited "code of conduct" between the ASEAN states and China regarding the South China Sea. In 2002, the ASEAN states and China declared their intent to negotiate a code of conduct, but the process has sputtered since then. According to this account, Wang doesn’t think ASEAN should be holding its collective breath:

Wang Yi , who wraps up a six-day visit to four South East Asian countries today, said Beijing was open to dialogue on a Code of Conduct for the South China Sea (CoC), but warned that patience would be needed.

"Some countries are looking for a quick fix [to the disputes] and are hoping to thrash out a code in a day; this approach is neither realistic nor serious," Xinhua quoted Wang as saying yesterday.

The CoC involved multiple national interests and as such required a "delicate and complex" negotiating process, Wang added.

Analysts say Wang was referring to the Philippines’s recent bid to take the maritime row to the United Nations in hope of solving it promptly.

The South China Morning Post notes here that Wang decided not to include the Philippines in his itinerary.