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

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

RCEP is considered by some as an alternative to the Trans-Pacific Partnership free-trade pact, from which the U.S. President Donald Trump withdrew in 2017.

Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah co-chaired the Asean-US Ministerial meeting with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo today in Singapore August 3, 2018.

China and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations have approved a draft of a proposed agreement to prevent fighting in the disputed South China Sea.

"As part of our commitment to advancing regional security in the Indo-Pacific, the United States is excited to announce US$300 million of new funding to reinforce security cooperation throughout the entire region", Pompeo told a press briefing on the sidelines of a meeting of foreign ministers from the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations in Singapore.

China has accused the United States of meddling into an Asian dispute.

But there was little sign of serious resistance from other countries, signalling how opposition to China's aggressive expansion in the resource-rich waters has ebbed in recent years in Southeast Asia.

The two foreign ministers in their meeting discussed bilateral relations between their countries.

However, it was too early to say when negotiations would be complete, he added.

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Malaysia, Brunei, Vietnam and the Philippines all claim some or all of the South China Sea and its myriad shoals, reefs and islands.

Tensions have escalated over the past few years due to Beijing building artificial islands that can host military bases.

"We will be pushing for a framework that will not further complicate and instead create environments to talk and solve territorial and sovereign rights disputes", Cayetano said.

On security, Pompeo said USA appreciates Asean's ongoing efforts to promote peace and stability in the region, support the rule of law in the South China Sea, and to strictly enforce sanctions on North Korea.

The suggestion to exclude outside countries "is obviously targeted at the United States, which has been dominating the waters of the Western Pacific and the South China Sea in particular", said Hoang Thi Ha of the ISEAS-Yusof Ishak Institute's ASEAN Studies Centre in Singapore.

However, opposition has weakened in other parts of Southeast Asia, with analysts saying that countries are keen to attract Chinese investment and are anxious about US commitment to the region under US President Donald Trump.

The Asean meeting coincides with a bitter trade dispute between the USA and China.

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