Beijing sets the pace in South China Sea talks

Beijing sets the pace in South China Sea talks

In their joint communique issued last Sunday, the ASEAN foreign ministers emphasized non-militarization and self-restraint in the conduct of activities in the disputed South China Sea.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said the most substantial progress made was that, with the joint efforts of China and Asean, the situation in the South China Sea has been stabilized.

Cambodian Foreign Minister Prak Sokhonn said Wednesday that the adoption of a framework for the Code of Conduct (COC) in the South China Sea is a very positive step for the ASEAN-China relations.

Talking to the press following the event, the Deputy FM said that Vietnam has worked closely with the Philippines as the ASEAN Chair, as well as the other countries, to put forward initiatives for of the execution of action plans, draft documents, to strengthen ASEAN agencies and promote consensus, thus ensuring the success of the meetings and the bloc's prestige.

Meanwhile, Duterte said that the Philippines will continue to engage with its neighbours positively so more partnerships will grow.

On July 25, Wang urged ASEAN to reject "nonregional forces" that want to stir up trouble in the South China Sea, an apparent reference to the US and Japan, which have carried out maritime exercises there.

Amti released satellite photos dated August 5 showing reclamation work on Tree Island and North Island in the Paracel Islands, which are disputed by Vietnam and China.

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Singapore's Ministry of Foreign Affairs declined to comment for this story.

The framework is the product of a series of dialogues between ASEAN nations and China with the long term objective of avoiding violent confrontation in the region where China, Philippines, Indonesia, Vietnam, Malaysia and Brunei have overlapping territorial claims.

"We expect nations not to tell us what to do", Foreign Secretary said at a news conference. But the Asian giant had always been perceived as delaying negotiations with Asean for the maritime code to allow it to complete its land reclamations in the South China Sea without any regulatory restrictions.

Cayetano said: "Japan, Australia, and the USA are our friends".

Tensions between the two countries burst into the open last November when Hong Kong port authorities impounded nine Singaporean armoured military vehicles being shipped home from training grounds in Taiwan.

The South China Morning Post has followed up with story citing two reasons why Vietnam is especially sensitive to China's claims to territory in the South China Sea - it has both land and sea borders with China, and as a geographically narrow coastal country, is vulnerable to maritime attack.