The Asean foreign ministers and China would formally endorse the document called "Framework of the Code of Conduct in the South China Sea", during their meeting in Manila on Sunday, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said on Monday.
The ministers may also welcome the operationalization of the Guidelines for Hotline Communications among Senior Officials of the Ministries of ASEAN Member States and China in Response to Maritime Emergencies in the Implementation of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC). But Bolivar said no timeline has been set for the approval of the code.
According to DFA Spokesperson Rob Bolivar, the draft framework will only be approved this month became the meeting of the ASEAN-China Foreign Ministers is traditionally held in August.
After the endorsement from the Asean and China ministers, he said, the framework would be elevated to the leaders, who will instruct both sides to take steps towards actual negotiations for a COC.
However, the ruling of an worldwide arbitral tribunal nullifying China's massive claim on the West Philippines Sea (South China Sea) may not be included in the regional code of conduct, the DFA said.More news: Three questions 1MDB has to answer over IPIC payment default
During the week from August 2 to 8, Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano will lead the 50th Asean Foreign Ministers' Meetings, the 18th Asean Plus Three Foreign Ministers' Meeting (with Japan, China and Korea), the 7th East Asia Summit Foreign Ministers' Meeting, and the 24th Asean Regional Forum (ARF).
Asked if the Asean foreign ministers and other foreign ministers from participating countries will make a consensus, Bolivar said a joint statement on terrorism and violent extremism is "in the works", although he declined to provide more details.
"There is no specific mention ... but the general headings, it's an outline, the nature of the code of conduct, what principles govern the behaviours of [nations]".
Efforts to finalise the pact have dragged on for years.
ASEAN is composed of Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam.