China reports progress on South China Sea code of conduct

China reports progress on South China Sea code of conduct

Lin again appealed to all claimants of disputed islands in the South China Sea that Taiwan is willing to engage in dialogue with other countries on an equal footing, to jointly promote peace and stability in the region.

"China is escalating the situation unilaterally, and this is totally unacceptable", Inada said at a press conference.

Meanwhile, Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Liu Zhenmin noted on Chinese state television that the framework agreement took the concerns of all parties into account.

Anti-frogman rocket launcher defense systems have reportedly been installed on Fiery Cross Reef in the Spratly Islands.

The Philippines, chairman for this year's ASEAN, earlier promised to finish the framework in June.

One Asean diplomat said the latest draft did not mention any dispute settlement mechanism or sanctions for violations, but focused mostly on managing tension and building trust.

The incident occurred a day after two Chinese Sukhoi Su-30 fighter jets intercepted a US Air Force WC-135 Constant Phoenix aircraft while it was flying in worldwide airspace above the East China Sea.

However, Liu said the agreement laid a "solid foundation" for further negotiations.

After a meeting between Chinese and ASEAN officials in the Chinese city of Guiyang, China's foreign ministry said the framework had been agreed upon, although it gave no details of its contents.

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The Philippines welcomed the finalization of the draft of the framework.

Experts say China wants to appear to engage Asean or bind its claimant states to a weak code at a time when USA policy on the South China Sea is in a state of flux.

The meeting was held ahead of the upcoming China-ASEAN foreign ministers' meeting in July, the state news agency reported. The country's claims have been objected by neighbouring nations including Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei and Vietnam.

Indonesia has boosted its military presence in the Natuna islands, which are in the southernmost reaches of the South China Sea, in response to Beijing's assertive posture in the region.

In remarks that could infuriate China, Duterte hit back at domestic critics who said he has gone soft on Beijing by refusing to push it to comply with an award a year ago by the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague, which ruled largely in favour of the Philippines.

However, President Rodrigo Duterte has repeatedly declined to invoke the arbitral ruling and even steered a recent summit of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, which the Philippines chairs this year, away from the issue.

"What I can say is that China will make joint efforts with 10 ASEAN member states to arrive at final COC", he said. The Philippine government maintained that it owns the territory where Filipino troops and villagers have lived for decades.

Hua added that the islands are part of the mainland and that China has every right to sail in the waters.

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