Asean, China adopt S.China Sea 'code of conduct' framework

China to endorse South China Sea code of conduct

ASEAN Secretary General Le Luong Minh and ASEAN Foreign Ministers Chair Alan Peter Cayetano launch the tribute painting during the opening ceremony of the ASEAN Foreign Ministers' Meeting (AMM) at the PICC.

Foreign ministers of the ASEAN nations congratulated China on the success of the recent Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation, thanked China for its support on ASEAN's community building, recognized the positive progress of ASEAN-China ties in the past year and agreed with the depth and achievements of the China-ASEAN relations.

China insists that a much-delayed code of conduct between it and ASEAN members over the disputed sea must not be legally binding, a demand to which Southeast Asian countries have so far acquiesced.

Its claims overlap with those of Asean members Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia and Brunei.

It said that after extensive discussions, concerns were voiced by some members about land reclamation "and activities in the area which have eroded trust and confidence, increased tension and may undermine peace, security and stability".

"This will not only benefit our two countries, but also show the world the bright future of more positive, more predictable and more sustainable relations between our two countries", Wang said at a meeting with U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.

"The leaders of ASEAN and China are expected to announce the formal start of negotiations on the code at their summit in November", Bolivar told reporters. "I mean it's really very insubstantial anyway", Mr Batongbacal said, expressing doubt that Asean and China will be able to come up with anything concrete in the next few years.

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North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho, center, walks as he leaves for the Philippines to participate in the ministerial meeting of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, or ASEAN, Regional Forum, at the Pyongyang Airport in Pyongyang, North Korea, Saturday, Aug. 5, 2017.

"If there is no major disruption from outside parties, with that as the precondition, then we will consider during the November leaders' meeting, we will jointly announce the official start of the code of conduct consultation", Wang said.

"There's still no consensus", one of the diplomats said earlier in the day, adding the disagreements over the wordings on the sea issue were holding up the release of the communique.

The statement also called on ASEAN members and China to ensure that a code of conduct they have pledged to develop regarding the South China Sea be "legally binding, meaningful, effective, and consistent with worldwide law".

"Vietnam is adamant, and China is effectively using Cambodia to champion its interests".

But after the election of President Rodrigo Duterte past year, Manila has played down the verdict in favour of pursuing warmer ties with Beijing, a move that led to offers of billions of dollars in investments or aid from China.

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