BEIJING - China and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) have adopted the draft of a multilateral code of conduct in the South China Sea.
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 Thursday, following two days of meetings in the Chinese city of Guiyang, reported official Chinese news agency Xinhua.
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 finalize the code of conduct to diffuse tensions in the South China Sea.
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.
In recent years, the Chinese regime has built facilities on artificial islands, that could be of military use, generating concern in neighboring countries and the United States.