Tech

China reports progress on South China Sea code of conduct

China reports progress on South China Sea code of conduct

China announced on May 18 that it had for the first time successfully extracted methane hydrates from cores drilled in the Shenhu area of the South China Sea.

The Philippines, which chairs the 10-member ASEAN this year, has expressed hope of finalizing such an agreement during its leadership.

The issue has come to a head in recent years as China has pursued a strategy of building artificial islands capable of supporting military facilities in the region, provoking strong reactions from other claimants as well as the USA, which argues Beijing's actions threaten freedom of navigation and overflight through the strategically vital waters.

The Trump administration declined a request by the Pentagon to sail close to islands China has built there, something that happened regularly under the Obama administration.

A code of conduct is the key objective of a 2002 Declaration on Conduct, large parts of which China has ignored, particularly a commitment not to occupy or reclaim uninhabited features. Beijing had long advocated a bilateral approach.

"No matter what the final draft agreement looks like, the devil will be in working out the details", said Storey, foreseeing a long, hard negotiation on the final document.

Two Chinese SU-30 aircraft carried out what the USA military described as an unprofessional intercept of a U.S. aircraft over the East China Sea.

Sweden drops Assange probe, but he still faces arrest in UK
Ny added the investigation could be reopened if Assange returns to Sweden before the statute of limitations lapses in 2020. However, British police said he is still a wanted man for failing to surrender in the country in 2012.

In recent years, the sides have signed a pair of agreements aimed at preventing such encounters from sparking an global crisis, as happened in April 2001 when a Chinese jet fighter collided with a United States surveillance plane over the South China Sea, leading to the death of the Chinese pilot and China's detention of the 24 U.S. crew members for 10 days.

Adds Thayer: "The reality is that ASEAN is gradually accepting that the South China Sea has become China's lake".

Chinese state-run Xinhau news agency had reported in the past that the country discovered flammable ice in the South China Sea in 2007.

Beijing has reclaimed over 3,000 acres in the Spratly Islands since early 2014 and has turned sandbars into military bases equipped with airfields and weapons bases.

The Air-Self Defense Force scrambled two F-15 fighter jets in response to the deployment of the drone around the Japanese-controlled islands, claimed by China.

In Indonesia, four soldiers were killed and eight were wounded in a naval exercise near the Natuna Islands in the South China Sea when a Chinese-manufactured anti-aircraft gun malfunctioned.

China is trying to wean itself off coal, given devastating air pollution that is harming health and undermining the Communist Party's public support, but has to import huge amounts of gas from Russian Federation and Central Asia. I go straight. Maybe they think I'm scared. "If they're smart, they won't press further", he says.


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