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Thayer Consultancy

ABN # 65 648 097 123

Background Briefing: South China Sea: ASEANs Elusive Code of Conduct Carlyle A. Thayer October 24, 2012

[client name deleted] There were reports at the ASEAN summits in July that China and ASEAN were expected to hold informal negotiations about the draft COC [Code of Conduct] in September. What was the outcome of these negotiations or, indeed, whether they actually eventuated? ANSWER: ASEAN and China have not yet met to discuss ASEANs draft code of conduct. There have been some informal soundings by Indonesia. But plans to meet in September/October and get agreement in time for the ASEAN and related summits in November looks to be slipping. Initially Thailand, in its capacity as ASEANs dialogue partner with China, wanted to host a meeting on the COC in Pattaya but Cambodia insisted as ASEAN chair that the meeting be held in Cambodia. The meeting in Pattaya was styled as an informal meeting and Cambodia hosted a meeting of ASEAN senior officials from 22-23 October to discuss the COC. One ASEAN diplomat who follows this revealed that nothing would happen on the COC until next year.

Suggested citation: Carlyle A. Thayer, South China Sea: ASEANs Elusive Code of Conduct, Thayer Consultancy Background Brief, October 24, 2012.