ASEAN Foreign Ministers Meet in Philippines

ASEAN Foreign Ministers Meet in Philippines

'We strongly urge (North Korea) to immediately comply fully with its obligations under all relevant UN Security Council Resolutions.

Vietnam has issued a statement that would be taken up for discussion in the ASEAN regional forum.

"This framework will help all parties involved in the South China Sea issue to resolve their disputes through bilateral negotiations without any interference from a third party", he said.

Philippine foreign secretary Alan Peter Cayetano said the ministers were divided over a U.S. proposal to suspend the North from the ASEAN Regional Forum, which will hold its annual meeting on Monday.

China warned the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) on Sunday, August 6, against "outside parties" in drafting a Code of Conduct (COC) in the disputed South China Sea.

Beijing claims nearly all of the South China Sea, including a cluster of islands, reefs and atolls further south called the Spratlys; ASEAN members Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam have overlapping claims on the waters.

"The COC is crucial to ensuring longterm peace, stability and development in the South China Sea", he said, adding that the adoption of the COC framework reflected enhanced mutual trust between ASEAN and China, which creates a favorable atmosphere for eventual settlement of disputes.p Chheang Vannarith, senior fellow at the Cambodian Institute for Cooperation and Peace, said the adoption of the framework was a critical step towards further talks over a final COC.

FOREIGN ministers from Southeast Asia and China yesterday adopted a negotiating framework for a code of conduct in the South China Sea.

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Opposition by China has repeatedly disrupted Vietnam's efforts to exploit offshore energy reserves, most recently in an area overlapping what Beijing considers its oil concessions.

Once Asean's most vocal critic of China's conduct, the Philippines, under President Rodrigo Duterte, has put aside disputes in exchange for Chinese funding pledges of $24 billion.

The 46-page statement echoed the wording from the 49th Joint Communiqué released by ASEAN ministers in Laos previous year.

"This bloom is being celebrated through a broad range of governmental, business, diaspora, cultural and civil society interactions in India as also in ASEAN nations which would culminate in a special ASEAN India Commemorative Summit".

Vietnam's SOM ASEAN head Deputy Foreign Minister Nguyen Quoc Dung said this is a positive beginning for the practical and efficient COC negotiation process later.

But security analysts point out that the framework comes 15 years after negotiations on the issue first began, and China has used that time to cement its claims with the artificial islands.

The event is taking place as Philippine security forces battle Islamic State-aligned gunmen who have since May been occupying parts of Marawi, the nation's main Muslim city about 800 kilometres (500 miles) to the south of Manila.

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