China, ASEAN Agree On Draft South China Sea Code Of Conduct

Sunday, 05 Aug, 2018

The agreement came at the annual ministerial meeting between China and Asean member states in Singapore, Channel News Asia reported.

The ASEAN ministers also welcomed rapprochement between North Korea and South Korea and the US and reaffirmed their commitment "to combat the scourge of violent extremism, radicalization and terrorism".

Analysts say the $113 million of technology, energy and infrastructure initiatives trumpeted by Mike Pompeo earlier this week - the first concrete details of U.S. President Donald Trump's vague "Indo-Pacific" policy - may be hard to sell to countries that form an integral part of Chinese exporters' supply chains.

The top Chinese diplomat also called on the two sides to step up cooperation in such fields as security, anti-terrorism, disaster prevention and relief, humanitarian assistance, trade and investment, and boost strategic mutual trust.

Also, Turkey received an observer status in ASEAN's multinational police force in 2014 and became a sectoral dialogue partner at last year's ASEAN Foreign Ministers' Meeting in the Philippines.

"We will use these drills as a starting point to expand China and Asean's military communications and security cooperation, to together face security concerns and to protect the stability of the region", Wang told a news conference.

This year's meetings take place amid trade tensions and geopolitical uncertainty.

Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs Julie Bishop said ASEAN holds a leading role in Southeast Asia and a strong connection in the Indo-Pacific region, adding that the power of the bloc's solidarity will help maintain peace and security and create other growth pushes.

With the region being home to some of the world's largest economies, the US, China, Japan, India and Indonesia, Indo-Pacific cooperation could combine a total gross domestic product (GDP) of more than US$43 trillion. "It convenes the region's key forums. and has a unique capacity for collective action".

On the sidelines of the event, Zarif held separate meetings with Singapore's Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong as well as his Philippine, Japanese and Turkish counterparts for talks on bilateral ties as well as regional and worldwide issues, including the Iran nuclear agreement.

In a meeting with his counterparts from the 10-member ASEAN on Friday, Pompeo underlined the importance of the intergovernmental organization in promoting an Indo-Pacific region that is free, open and rules-based.

"It is important that Asean continues to support the multilateral trading system".

Mr Pompeo also called on Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.

Ri is scheduled to attend Saturday's ASEAN Regional Forum meeting of the 10-country regional bloc and other forum members.