The First Reading of the Single Draft Negotiating Text of the Code of Conduct (COC) in the South China Sea Completed Ahead of the Schedule

On July 31, 2019 local time, when attending the China- Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Foreign Ministers' Meeting held in Bangkok, Thailand, State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi noted, in the past year, China and the ASEAN countries, following the spirit of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC), explored rule-based governance of the South China Sea, actively advanced the consultations on the Code of Conduct (COC) in the South China Sea, and completed the first reading of the COC single draft negotiating text ahead of the schedule. Through the first reading, the text is streamlined so that the framework and essential elements of the COC become clearer and the structure more reasonable. It marks new and major progress in the COC consultations and an important step toward the goal of concluding the consultations within three years' time.

Wang Yi stressed, the completion of the first reading ahead of schedule is attributed to the sincerity of all parties participating in the consultations and their determination to push forward the consultations. This cherishable achievement also saves us more time for the following readings, boosts our confidence and demonstrates the conviction of regional countries to jointly set rules in the region and safeguard peace and stability in the South China Sea together. It is believed that as the COC consultations continue, we will have more progress and outcomes to share with you.

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