The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) is seeking early talks with China to discuss a code of conduct to manage tensions over the disputed South China Sea, the bloc’s new chief.
China claims most of the South China Sea, including a vital shipping lane and resource-rich areas. The Philippines, Malaysia, Vietnam and Brunei have overlapping claims in the area, as does Taiwan.
“ASEAN should speed up efforts towards an early start of negotiations with China to achieve an early conclusion of a code of conduct on the South China Sea,” ASEAN Secretary-General Le Luong Minh said.
The Vietnamese diplomat was speaking in Jakarta after officially assuming the post of ASEAN secretary, replacing Surin Pitsuwan of Thailand.
In 2011, ASEAN and China agreed on a non-binding set of guidelines to allow dialogue and cooperation during talks on the Indonesian resort island of Bali.
A binding code of conduct is…