Beijing and its Southeast Asian neighbours have agreed to a framework for a code of conduct in the South China Sea, a move that could reduce the risk of clashes in one of the world’s busiest waterways.
Along with the framework, rival claimants China and the Philippines will start talks today over their competing claims in the sea, according to senior diplomats from both sides.
China building on another disputed island in South China Sea
Representatives for China and all 10 members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations agreed to the framework in Guiyang in Guizhou province after two days of talks that wrapped up on Thursday, said Liu Zhenmin, deputy foreign minister and head of China’s delegation. “The draft framework contains only the elements and is not the final rules, but the conclusion of the framework is a milestone in the process and is significant. It will provide a good foundation for the next round of consultations,” he said at a joint press conference.