Foreign ministers from the 10-member Association Southeast Asian Nations are discussing the possibility of issuing a statement specifically on resolving territorial disputes in the
If the idea pushes through, it would mark the first time for the grouping to issue a joint statement on the contentious issue involving
Senior officials of ASEAN have crafted the statement but they were unable to determine if it should be issued at the ministerial level or at a higher level since ASEAN leaders are scheduled to gather later this month in the
ASEAN foreign ministers are expected to discuss the issue at their working dinner here on Wednesday and also at their meeting on Thursday to prepare for an upcoming annual ASEAN summit slated for April 24-25.
According to the latest draft seen by Kyodo News, it is prepared as a joint statement of ASEAN foreign ministers on the "way forward" on a code of conduct in the
Sihasak stressed the need to maintain "positive momentum" by exploring the possibility of getting the process toward a binding code of conduct in the
Sihasak admitted there is still a difference between ASEAN and
The top Thai bureaucrat was optimistic that a compromise could be eventually reached.
While ASEAN is eager to commence formal talks with
It favors a looser set of guidelines for the implementation of the Declaration of Conduct in the South China Sea, which was agreed to by ASEAN and
The latest draft statement also states ASEAN's solidarity, unity and centrality are keys to maintaining peace, stability, to enhancing maritime security and to ensuring peaceful resolution of disputes in the
Last July, ASEAN foreign ministers failed to issue a joint communique at the end of their annual meeting in
To resolve territorial disputes in the South China Sea,
All or parts of the South China Sea, which contains some of the busiest shipping lanes in the world and is believed to be rich in oil and gas, are claimed by Brunei, China, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam.