China says first draft of framework for South China Sea code of conduct ready


[BEIJING] A first draft of a framework for a code of conduct for behaviour in the disputed South China Sea has been completed, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said on Wednesday, adding tension in the waterway had eased notably.

Since 2010, China and the 10 members of the Association of South East Asian Nations (Asean) have been discussing a set of rules aimed at avoiding conflict among rival claimants in the busy South China Sea.

Speaking at his annual news conference on the sidelines of China’s parliamentary session, Mr Wang said talks last month had made “clear progress” and had formulated a first draft of a framework for the code. “China and Asean countries feel satisfied with this,” he said.

Mr Wang said tensions in the South China Sea had not just”somewhat dropped, but had distinctly dropped” over the past year.