VIENTIANE: Leaders of member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and China issued a joint statement Wednesday on the application of the Code for Unplanned Encounters at Sea (CUES) in the South China Sea.
The document reaffirmed commitment to the 2002 Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC) and the Joint Statement of the Foreign Ministers of ASEAN Member States and China on the Full and Effective Implementation of the DOC, including the importance of the freedom of navigation and overflight.
It said the two sides recognized that maintaining peace and stability in the South China Sea region serves the fundamental interests of ASEAN member states and China, as well as the international community.
The joint statement recognized that Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam and China are members of the Western Pacific Naval Symposium (WPNS) and have adopted CUES.
CUES, as a coordinated means of communication to maximize safety at sea, offers a means by which navies may develop mutually rewarding international cooperation and transparency, according to the document.
Leaders from the two sides reaffirmed in the statement their commitment to CUES to improve the operational safety of naval ships and naval aircraft in air and at sea, and ensure mutual trust.
The document said the leaders agreed to use the safety and communication procedures for the safety of all their naval ships and naval aircraft, as set out in CUES, when they encounter each other in the South China Sea.