Duterte raised South China Sea code during meeting with China communist party leaders – Go

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President Rodrigo Duterte greets the officials of the Communist Party of China Chongqing Party during a meeting Monday night in Malacañang.

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 17)— President Rodrigo Duterte raised the issue of the long-delayed Code of Conduct (COC) in the South China Sea during his meeting with visiting officials of the communist party of China Monday night in Malacañang, a senator said

Senator Bong Go told reporters on Tuesday that Duterte emphasized the need to “fast-track” the creation of the COC so that concerned parties will be “put at ease.”

“The president emphasized the need to fast-track the ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) code of conduct in the South China Sea so that everybody will be put at ease and everyone to know what route to follow and what alleys to avoid when sailing,” said the senator, the president's former assistant..

The Communist Party of China Chongqing Party, led by its chief Chen Min'er, on Monday paid a courtesy call on the president in Malacañang. Go said the meeting was a “follow-through” on consensus reached during Duterte’s bilateral meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping in August.

Duterte also praised the party’s success in various political and economic advances, including its role in last month’s Belt and Road forum in Beijing, Go added.

Duterte, during his bilateral meeting with the Chinese leader, revealed he has received a lot of queries on the progress of the COC, with the biggest concern coming from Western countries. The president had stressed that the code was the “least concern” of the United States.

Southeast Asian leaders have committed to speed up the creation of the COC, which will outline what claimant countries can and cannot do in the contested waterway. Progress, however, has been slow because of resistance from China.

READ: ASEAN vows to finish South China code of conduct

The meeting came amid government protests against China over the passage of Chinese warships and survey boats in Philippine waters without proper coordination, as well as the controversial sinking of a Filipino fishing boat by a Chinese vessel near Recto Bank.

READ: Duterte seeks sanctions vs. Chinese crew over Recto Bank incident

CNN Philippines' Alyssa Rola and Eimor Santos contributed to this report.