Covid-19 masks trouble in South China Sea

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By Carlyle A Thayer*

COVID-19 impacted disputes in the South China Sea in two ways. First, there were no face-to-face meetings between ASEAN members and China via the Joint Working Group to Implement the Declaration of Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (JWG–DOC). As the JWG–DOC has carriage over negotiations on the South China Sea, already difficult talks were further complicated and no progress made on the Code of Conduct (COC), which seeks to manage inter-state relations and territorial disputes in the contested waters.

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