China rejects PH's separate Code of Conducts with Vietnam, Malaysia

​China does not support President Marcos' move to come up with a separate Code of Conduct (COC) on the South China Sea with some neighboring countries after the latter noted a slow progress in the crafting of an agreement with Beijing and members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

Mao Ning, China's Foreign Ministry spokesperson, said "any departure" from the Declaration on Conduct of the Parties in the South China Sea (DOC), which is giving framework for the possible COC, as well as its spirit "will be null and void."

Mao made the pronouncement during her Monday's press briefing as she believed formulating a COC "is an important task for China and ASEAN countries" in a bid to implement the existing the DOC already signed by Beijing and the regional bloc in 2012.

At a forum in Hawaii during his recent visit to the US, President Marcos bared Manila is currently negotiating separate COCs with neighboring countries, such as with Vietnam and with Malaysia.

That's "because we are still waiting for the Code of Conduct between China and ASEAN, and the progress has been rather slow unfortunately," the President explained.

Marcos said it was the Philippines that took the initiative to approach other countries, which are also claimant states of parts of the South China Sea.

Meanwhile, Mao also maintained China's position over its claim over the waters after Marcos also disclosed that the Chinese construction in the South China Sea is getting closer to the Philippine coast.

She said Beijing's territorial claims "are solidly grounded in history and the law."

Therefore, she added, "China carrying out construction activities on its own territory is a matter purely within the scope of China's sovereignty and other countries have no right to point fingers at it."

The 2016 Arbitral Ruling, which was based on the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) that was ratified both by the Philippines and China, ruled that parts of the South China Sea—where Chinese construction activities are ongoing—belong to the Philippines exclusive economic zone (EEZ).