Hi-Tech

Singapore naval drill in South China Sea shouldn't hurt us: China

Singapore naval drill in South China Sea shouldn't hurt us: China

South-East Asian nations and China have agreed on a draft framework for a code of conduct aimed at preventing armed clashes in the disputed South China Sea, the Philippines said Friday.

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and China have been talking about a binding code of conduct to prevent conflict in the contentious waterway for the past 15 years and so agreement on the draft framework is being presented as a breakthrough.

The code framework would envisage a round-the-clock hotline and urge defence officials to find ways to follow the code, Chee Wee Kiong of Singapore's foreign ministry said on Thursday. Both countries conducted a bilateral consultative mechanism to resolve the issues hounding the South China Sea.

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

The United States has criticised what it has called China's militarization of its maritime outposts and stressed the need for freedom of navigation by conducting periodic air and naval patrols near them.

"We hope that our consultations on the code are not subject to any outside interference", Liu said.

Chinese miners have managed to extract "combustible ice" from the seafloor of the South China Sea, according to the Ministry of Land and Resources.

But speaking at a regular press briefing in Beijing on Friday, Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said: "Of course we can not accept the so-called negotiations or protests of the Japanese side".




Japan has used this situation to make trouble, play up non-existent tensions and redirect attention to the so-called arbitral tribunal, while involved parties have already turned a page, Hua told a regular press briefing. "We regard this as a serious infringement of Japan's sovereignty".

On the heels of the ASEAN conference, the Philippines and China begin their own attempt to resolve their differences in the South China Sea today.

She said Japan should focus on building trust among regional countries and promoting peace and stability.

A drone-like object was spotted flying above one of the four Chinese ships that entered Japanese waters near the Senkaku Islands in Okinawa Prefecture on Thursday, according to the Japan Coast Guard.

China claims almost all of the resource-rich South China Sea, including islands more than 800 miles from the Chinese mainland, despite objections from neighbours such as the Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei and Vietnam.

For China, the code of conduct is a means to achieving its goal of keeping the USA and its allies from intervening in the matter in the name of freedom of navigation or maintaining regional stability, said Huang Jing, an expert on the region at National University of Singapore's Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy.

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. Japan controls an island chain in the East China Sea that stretches 1,400km south towards Taiwan.


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