ASEAN closes ranks over South China Sea dispute – Tue, January 21 2020

China’s new envoy to ASEAN has arrived in Jakarta facing growing pressure from the increasingly vigilant bloc as its top diplomats put more emphasis on compliance to international law in ongoing negotiations for a final and binding code of conduct (COC) on the South China Sea.Ambassador Deng Xijun arrived in the Indonesian capital over the weekend and submitted his credentials to ASEAN Secretary-General Lim Jock Hoi on Monday, marking the formal start of his duties in Southeast Asia.Speaking to reporters after his meeting with Lim, Ambassador Deng said there had been positive developments in the COC talks, with the completion of the first reading of the draft last year.  “So I think with our joint effort we will reach a consensus at an early date according to the three-year mission,” he told reporters at the ASEAN Secretariat compound, in reference to China’s promise to…

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