China, Southeast Asian Nations Agree to Draft of Conduct Pact in South China Sea
China and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations have approved a draft of a proposed agreement to prevent fighting in the disputed South China Sea. China and the 10-nation bloc, which includes four claimants involved in the territorial dispute, have been engaged in sporadic negotiations for years to craft a "code of conduct" aimed at preventing violent outbreaks in the region. 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." Chinese counterpart Wang Yi said approval of the draft was "good news" and a "breakthrough." China has transformed seven disputed reefs into man-made islands replete with three runways, surface-to-air missiles and other weapons systems. Without naming China, ASIAN foreign ministers cited Beijing's actions, saying in a statement they "took note of the concerns expressed by some countries on the land...
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