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

Casey GreeneAug 05, 2018

Singapore Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan said Thursday, at the start of the annual meeting of top diplomats from China and the association's member nations, the development is a "milestone".

US should talk respectfully and know that pressure and dialog can not happen simultaneously, he said, noting that recent US President's call for talks is more like a propaganda than a real political move.

Foreign Affairs Minister Saifuddin Abdullah says Malaysia stands firm in the belief that all parties must exercise self-restraint over the South China Sea issue.

"Lavrov's program in Singapore for today includes talks with a number of foreign counterparts, including foreign ministers of Singapore, China, South Korea, Iran, the Philippines, and others", the source said.

"We hope this momentum will continue with high-level visits", Çavuşoğlu tweeted after a bilateral meeting with Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono.

While Kang plans to hold talks with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, it's unclear whether the secretary will have a separate meeting with the North's minister.

Australia and Japan said they would join the United States in a push to invest in infrastructure projects in the Indo-Pacific region.

One reason for caution is that the region has been wrong-footed by USA advances before.

United States intelligence agencies have said a Russian propaganda arm tried to tamper with the 2016 presidential election by posting and buying ads on Facebook. One of his early acts in office was to pull out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement, which involved four Southeast Asian states. Chinese and Southeast Asian naval forces have staged their first computer-simulated drills so they can jointly respond to emergencies and build trust amid the long-seething disputes in the South China Sea.

The United States-traditionally the dominant military power in the area-has more frequently carried out patrols aimed at ensuring freedom of navigation.

The US is embroiled in trade spats with China and close allies including the European Union, imposing tit-for-tat tariffs on billions of dollars worth of goods and heightening fears of economic pain that could spread worldwide.

Its President Rodrigo Duterte frequently praises Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping and in February caused a stir when he jokingly offered the Philippines to Beijing as a province of China.

China's Defense Ministry did not respond to a request for comment.

The meeting comes as tensions on the Korean Peninsula have eased since a historic summit between US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Singapore on June 12, although Pyongyang has yet to take concrete and credible measures to rid itself of nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles. It is seen by many as an attempt to reassure US allies of Washington's commitment to the region, especially after pulling out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade agreement.

However, Pompeo said the United States was confident North Korean denuclearisation would be implemented according to the accepted timeline.

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