Nov 19, 2012

Cambodia - Indonesia proposes hotline for South China Sea

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Indonesian Foreign Minister Marty Natelegawa said Sunday that his country had proposed a hotline for the South China Sea where Asean members Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines and Vietnam have overlapping territorial claims with China.

Speaking on the sidelines of a summit of Asean leaders, he said talks on a code of conduct for the South China Sea were an "ongoing" process that was "not standing still."

Referring to the proposed hotline, the minister said: "We need to enhance communication whenever an incident takes place.

"Indonesia, in this regard, suggested that in the future, should there be any incident of the type that we had, the ministers should be able to quickly pick up the phone and establish communication," he said, apparently referring to Chinese incidents earlier this year with Vietnam and the Philippines.

"The risk of misunderstanding and miscalculation is bigger if we choose not to communicate."

 When asked if other Asean members agreed to this request, Natelegawa said: "There is a general sense that it is something important.

"When we talk about a code of conducts, eventually the key elements on the code of conduct is precisely on the  modalities on how to respond to incidents."

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