US, Japan, Australia Urge Binding Code for South China Sea

US, Japan, Australia Urge Binding Code for South China Sea

The AMM 50 and related meetings will last until August 8.

The ASEAN foreign ministers and their Chinese counterpart, Wang Yi, on Sunday adopted a framework for negotiating a code of conduct to defuse tensions in the sea.

The tribunal ruled that the Spratlys the main territory under dispute in the sea were not islands, rather reefs, and "cannot generate maritime zones, " or extend China's territorial claims as maintained by Beijing.

With China in mind, Kono highlighted the Japanese efforts in the infrastructure investment area in the meeting in Manila of the foreign ministers of the 10 member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations plus Japan, China and South Korea.

They called on China and the Philippines to abide by an arbitration ruling previous year that invalidated much of China's territorial claim to the South China Sea, which is claimed in part by Taiwan and ASEAN members Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines and Vietnam.

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Manila: The United States, Australia and Japan on Monday denounced Beijing's island-building and militarisation of the South China Sea, in contrast to the increasingly tepid response from Southeast Asian nations over the festering issue.

The three countries also urged ASEAN to comply with an arbitration ruling that invalidated China's claim over the so-called nine-dash line claim in the South China Sea.

"We emphasized the importance of non-militarization and self-restraint in the conduct of all activities by claimants and all other states", according to the short section on the South China Sea included in a 46-page communique.

Wang congratulated ASEAN on its 50th anniversary, saying China is happy for ASEAN's development and achievements while expressing best wishes for ASEAN's development in the next 50 years.

North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho, center, walks as he leaves for the Philippines to participate in the ministerial meeting of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, or ASEAN, Regional Forum, at the Pyongyang Airport in Pyongyang, North Korea, Saturday, Aug. 5, 2017.

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A code of conduct has always been discussed, with both sides agreeing in 2002 on a loose set of guidelines known as the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the region.

"There's still no consensus", one of the diplomats said earlier in the day, adding the disagreements over the wordings on the sea issue were holding up the release of the communique. "But the Philippines is trying very hard to broker compromise language".

The ASEAN-China meeting was part of a flurry of one-to-one meetings held Sunday between foreign ministers from the Southeast Asian bloc and top diplomats from other countries including Japan, the United States, India and Russian Federation.

But after the election of President Rodrigo Duterte previous year, Manila has played down the verdict in favour of pursuing warmer ties with Beijing, a move that led to offers of billions of dollars in investments or aid from China.

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