China, ASEAN agree on framework for South China Sea code of conduct

Peace and Freedom

China and Southeast Asian countries agreed on Thursday to a framework for a long-mooted code of conduct for the disputed South China Sea, China’s foreign ministry said, as both sides step up efforts to ease tension in the strategic waterway.

China and the members of the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) had been hoping to this year agree on the framework, 15 years after committing to draft it.

Some ASEAN diplomats have expressed concern about whether China is being sincere, or whether ASEAN has enough leverage to get China to commit to a set of rules.

Some Southeast Asian countries, including Vietnam and the Philippines, as well as the United States, have expressed concern at what they see as China’s…

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