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Indonesia calls for code of conduct in South China Sea

Elaborating on the possible code of conduct under negotiation,Natalegawa said,“The code should be instructive and should tell ships how to behave.”

Written by Shubhajit Roy | New Delhi |
July 29, 2012 2:50:05 am

Visiting Indonesian foreign minister R M Marty Natalegawa has urged that a “code of conduct” be devised on the South China Sea issue. The statement came after a discussion with External Affairs Minister S M Krishna during the bilateral talks on Friday.

Speaking at the Indian Council of World Affairs,Natalegawa,one of the key negotiators on ASEAN’s behalf,said,“Standing still is not an alternative…it is like being on a treadmill,so rather than complaining and worrying…the code of conduct is desperately needed.”

Elaborating on the possible code of conduct under negotiation,Natalegawa said,“The code should be instructive and should tell ships how to behave.” He called the coming few months “very critical”.

He said Indonesians were seen as busy bodies during their Track-II diplomacy between 1985 and 1987,with many wondering if they were looking for work. Now the tension is rising,as is the potential for conflict,he said. “The rule-of-the-road type of regulations are needed to minimise the potential for conflict,” Natalegawa said.

He has been active in the past two weeks in what he called “shuttle diplomacy”,after the ASEAN — for the first time in 45 years — failed to issue a joint communiqué due to differences on the South China Sea dispute.

On the Indian side,Krishna stressed the need for “freedom of navigation” and “access to resources” and asked for a resolution through dialogue.

Besides discussing the South China Sea,the two leaders signed an agreement on the avoidance of double taxation and the prevention of fiscal evasion with respect to taxes on income.

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