PHNOM PENH, Aug. 9 (Xinhua) -- Cambodian Foreign Minister Prak Sokhonn said Wednesday that the adoption of a framework for the Code of Conduct (COC) in the South China Sea is a very positive step for the ASEAN-China relations.
Foreign ministers of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and China adopted the COC framework during a meeting in Manila, the Philippines on Sunday.
"It is a very positive step," Sokhonn told a press conference. "On the other hand, the relationship among the countries concerned in the territorial disputes has returned to a good situation."
He said the adoption of the COC framework was a crucial step towards the realization of the substantive and legally binding of an effective COC.
"This reflects that mutual trust is very important in negotiations, and the mutual trust allows us to move forwards with ensured peace, security and prosperity for the region," he said.
The COC framework was agreed upon in May during a senior officials' meeting on the implementation of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC) in Guiyang, southwest China's Guizhou Province.
Chheang Vannarith, senior fellow at the Cambodian Institute for Cooperation and Peace, said on Sunday that the adoption of the framework was a critical step towards further talks over a final COC.
"The COC not only serves regional trust-building, but also sets a foundation for long-term peace and stability in the South China Sea," he told Xinhua.