China agrees to discuss codes of conduct for the South China Sea

Kyaw Zaw Linn

The tension between Asean countries and China over the issue of the South China Sea has relaxed somewhat, with China agreeing to discuss “codes of conduct”.

The China agreement came on the heels of the 20th Asean-China Summit at the Philippine International Convention Centre in Manila on November 13.

Territorial disputes in the South China Sea remain between China and some Asean countries, particularly the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia and Brunei.

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang attended the Asean-China Summit. After the summit, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte expressed his hope for deeper relations among the Asean countries and China.

The Chinese premier said China had promised to become a good neighbour of Asean countries, adding that it would stand by those countries under any circumstance.

A spokesperson for the Philippine President’s Office also quoted Chinese President Xi Jinping as saying that China was improving diplomatic relations with Asean nations. Xi attended the Apec (Asian Pacific Economic Cooperation) meeting held in Vietnam ahead of the Asean Summit. The president was also quoted as saying that China could not reach its goals without peace and stability.

As a host country, the Philippines started the Asean plenary meeting on November 13. State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi has been participating in discussions.

Translated by Soe Tint