South China Sea code of conduct draft approved

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Beijing, May 19 (IANS) Beijing and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) have adopted a draft of a multilateral code of conduct in the South China Sea, officials said on Friday.

Representatives of China and the 10 Asean nations (Burma, Brunei, Cambodia, Philippines, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam) reached an agreement on the draft on Thursday, following two days of meetings in the city of Guiyang.

The draft establishes a solid foundation for the next round of negotiations, said Liu Zhenmin, Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs, at a press conference.

The Asean had pledged in April to finalise the code of conduct to diffuse tensions in the South China Sea, Efe news reported.

Four Asean members, the Philippines, Brunei, Malaysia and Vietnam, along with Taiwan and China, contest the sovereignty of several islands of this strategic maritime space, which Beijing claims almost in its entirety.

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