Talks on a South China Sea code of conduct will resume in October

A reef in the disputed Spratly islands on the South China Sea, on April 21, 2017.
A reef in the disputed Spratly islands on the South China Sea, on April 21, 2017.PHOTO: AFP

BANGKOK (BLOOMBERG) - Talks on the second draft of a maritime code of conduct in the South China Sea between China and South-east Asian countries is due to begin in October, a senior Thai government official told reporters on Friday (Aug 2).

Speaking on the sidelines of a regional forum in Bangkok, deputy permanent secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Arthayudh Srisamoot said the two sides would delve into the specifics of the long-awaited pact after agreeing to the "basic principles" in a preliminary draft reading.

The conclusion of the preliminary reading was confirmed earlier this week.

"We want the code of conduct to be a document that will instil more confidence in this region" and "follows international laws", Mr Arthayudh said, adding that a final agreement should be in place within three years.

Still, some of the region's top diplomats this morning expressed "concerns" regarding recent flare ups in the South China Sea and had noted the transit by warships and military equipment in waters could jeopardise possible peaceful resolution of the issue, Mr Arthayudh said.