China-Asean agree to finalise code on South China Sea

Beijing, Aug 17 (IANS) China and ten member-countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) agreed to finalise the framework for a maritime code of conduct to ease tensions in the South China Sea by mid-2017.

The agreement was reached during a meeting at Inner Mongolia in northern China on August 15 and 16, media reports cited a Chinese official as saying.

China and the 10 members of Asean since 2010 have been discussing a set of rules aimed at avoiding conflict among rival claimants in the busy waterway, Efe news agency reported.

In order to meet the maritime crisis situations, creation of a hotline was decided, reported China Daily.

This agreement comes as a significant rapprochement between China and the bloc, especially after the Permanent Court of Arbitration at The Hague in July ruled that China has no historical title over the disputed South China Sea and thus it had breached the Philippines sovereign rights. China dismissed the ruling and urged bilateral talks to resolve the issue.

Chinese Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Liu Zhenmin said the agreements will be presented to the leaders of all involved nations for their approval at the upcoming Laos summit of Asean in September.



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