Beijing and Asean in talks on South China Sea
BEIJING (AFP) - A code of conduct for handling disputes in the South China Sea should be discussed "gradually", Beijing said after meetings with South-east Asian nations, suggesting any agreement is still far off.
The 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) has been trying for more than a decade to secure agreement from China on a legally binding code of conduct.
Beijing claims nearly all of the South China Sea, even waters approaching the coasts of neighbouring countries, and has resisted agreeing to the code, wary of giving any concessions that may weaken its claim.
Tensions have mounted over the waters in recent years, with the latest spat over concrete blocks the Philippines says China has placed on the disputed Scarborough Shoal.