China, along with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean), has reportedly taken a step forward to resolve the persisting South China Sea issue. Both parties agreed to complete framing the rules and code of conduct to be followed in order to ease tensions in the hotly contested waters, the state media reported on Wednesday (17 August).
Meeting for the third time this year, China and the 10-member Asean concurred on getting the framework completed by mid-2017. The meeting also approved guidelines for a China-Asean hotline for use during maritime emergencies, besides agreeing on a deal on unplanned maritime encounters, China Daily reported.
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The maritime pact was signed by countries in the Asia Pacific region in 2014 and applies to the South China Sea. The hotline and maritime emergency agreements would be presented during the China-Asean meeting in Laos in September for final approval, the newspaper quoted Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Liu Zhenmin as saying.
“There is another achievement — we reached broad consensus on pushing forward the negotiations on a code of conduct for the South China Sea,” it quoted Liu as saying.