Thursday, June 20, 2013

ASEAN, China eye more cooperation in search, rescue in South China Sea

Some 40 representatives from ASEAN and China Wednesday attended a workshop on strengthening ASEAN-China cooperation in search and rescue of persons and vessels in distress in the South China Sea.

Addressing the workshop, Pham Quang Vinh, Vietnamese deputy minister of foreign affairs, said the workshop is a part of the implementation of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC), which is a milestone document in cooperation between ASEAN and China.

The document reflects the joint commitment of relevant parties on the respect of the international law, the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, the implementation of principles of restraint, not conducting activities that further complicate the situation, non-use of force, and peaceful settlement of disputes along with measures to build trust, Vinh said.

Fully implementation of the DOC and the adoption of COC to ensure maritime peace, security, safety and freedom of navigation are among measures to build trust in accordance with DOC, he said.

The South China Sea is a complex area with potential risks. There are many factors leading to the distress of peoples and vessels in the sea, including weather, sickness or damaged vessels. ASEAN and China need to work together to adopt necessary and appropriate policies and measures to coordinate in search and rescue for humanitarian and trust building purposes.

During the two-day workshop, participants will discuss the necessity to set forth measures to support people and vessels in distress in the South China Sea, the factors affecting the coordination of humanitarian assistance in the region, and the specific recommendations to enhance cooperation in the field of search and rescue operations in the South China Sea.-The Philippine Star

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