BEIJING has “softened” its stance on controversial provisions in the Code of Conduct (COC), Foreign Secretary Teodoro Locsin said yesterday.
“Their objectionable provisions excluding the Western military presence in the South China Sea... They’re not holding on to that anymore,” the secretary said at the Asia Society Policy Institute.
Locsin revealed that the first draft of the COC was already completed.
The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) member states including the Philippines, are currently negotiating with China on a legally binding COC.
But Locsin noted a COC over the disputed waters would be an acknowledgement that China is the hegemon in the region.
“It is implicit recognition of China’s hegemony. In short, a manual for living with a hegemon or the care and feeding of a dragon in your living room,” Locsin added.
Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio said the code of conduct will not settle the merits of the case.