ASEAN ministers endorse framework code in South China Sea

UN imposes tougher sanctions on North Korea

Aside from the Philippines, ASEAN members Brunei, Malaysia, Indonesia and and Vietnam have claims over parts of the South China Sea.

Third, with preparations basically ready and on the condition that there is no major outside interference and the South China Sea situation is generally stable, leaders of China and ASEAN member states will officially announce the start of the next step to negotiate on the text of the COC at the China-ASEAN Leaders' Summit in November.

Foreign ministers of the ASEAN nations congratulated China on the success of the recent Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation, thanked China for its support on ASEAN's community building, recognized the positive progress of ASEAN-China ties in the past year and agreed with the depth and achievements of the China-ASEAN relations.

In fact, an exasperated diplomat based in the Asean secretariat in Jakarta told an global news service then that it was like déjà vu how the heads of state and government were behaving in Vientiane-referring to their lack of unity and indecisiveness in handling the resulting tension from China's seizure of the Panatag or Scarborough Shoal.

"We don't want to prejudge the result of that", said Wang.

The issue was also likely to top the agenda when ASEAN ministers meet with their dialogue partners, including the United States, Japan, China and Russian Federation for Asia's largest security forum on Monday.

Wang said by end of August, the joint working group will meet and the parties will discuss the thinking principles for the next stage of the COC.

The ASEAN ministers failed to release the joint statement as expected after meeting on Saturday due to their differences on the sea issue, with Vietnam pushing for tougher language and Cambodia lobbying hard for China.

Ask about China's reactions from the US's demand for sanctions against the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), now pursuing an aggressive missile and nuclear program, the envoy said, "We have all along opposed unilateral sanctions, and we oppose imposed sanctions on another sovereign state by citing a domestic law". Only dialogue and negotiations are the correct way to address the Korean Peninsula issue.

The meetings will take place as the United Nations Security Council votes this weekend on a US-drafted resolution to toughen sanctions against North Korea to punish the isolated regime for its missile tests.

The six parties being alluded to are the US, China, Japan, Russia, North Korea and South Korea. It's not clear if the ministers will push for a legally binding code.

"What really matters is that the Foreign Minister of the DPRK is here, so he has the chance to listen to the views of those parties regarding the situation in the Korean Peninsula. It will help the DPRK make the right and smart decision", Wang added.

China claims almost all of the strategically vital sea, including waters approaching the coasts of Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia and Brunei.

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