China reports progress on South China Sea code of conduct

China reports progress on South China Sea code of conduct

Chee attributed the success of the meeting to the stable situation in the South China Sea and to the series of meetings since the implementation of the DOC in 2002.

In this September 23, 2015, photo, provided by Renato Etac, a Chinese Coast Guard boat sprays a water cannon at Filipino fishermen near Scarborough Shoal in the South China Sea.

Duterte, who met with Chinese President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang in Beijing this week, said he was making the threat public in response to domestic criticism he was being too weak with China over the dispute.

Yoshihide Suga, Japan's senior government spokesman, said Japan had lodged a "strong protest", accusing China of "unilaterally escalating" tensions.

"Before there was a superpower underpinning ASEAN, which made it a more hard strategic calculus for China to play", says Davies. Other claimants are the Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia and Vietnam - all members of ASEAN.

Meanwhile, Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Liu Zhenmin noted on Chinese state television that the framework agreement took the concerns of all parties into account.

China has installed rocket launchers on a disputed reef in the South China Sea to ward off Vietnamese military combat divers, Reuters reported citing a Chinese state-run newspaper, The Defense Times.

Duterte has also sought closer ties with China to win billions of dollars of Chinese investments and loans, while loosening the Philippines' long-standing alliance with the United States.

However, it's likely to lack teeth if recent statements from ASEAN with regards to China are any guide. It was unclear if that was mentioned in the framework draft, which has not been made public.

On Thursday, China and ASEAN announced that they had reached agreement on the terms of a Code of Conduct framework to regulate their interactions in the South China Sea.

The Philippines welcomed the finalization of the draft of the framework.

"Given that it's been 15 years to get to a draft, I'm not really holding my breath", he added.

China claims ownership of almost all of the South China Sea, believed to be the source of vast oil and gas deposits, despite partial counterclaims from Taiwan and several ASEAN members.

The Philippine ambassador also noted that during the height of heated of exchanges between China and the Philippines on the South China Sea a few years ago, Chinese nationals were not interested in visiting the Philippines.

China was enraged by a ruling a year ago from a Hague tribunal invalidating most of its South China Sea claims in a case brought by the Philippines.

In a press briefing on Thursday, Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto C. Abella said China's latest move to beef up its military presence in the contested sea will be "opened up" in the bilateral consultations with the Asian power.

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