China says wants South China Sea solution but Manila sees worrying signs
BEIJING (REUTERS) - China is serious about wanting a peaceful resolution to the bitter dispute over the South China Sea, Premier Li Keqiang told Southeast Asian leaders on Tuesday, but he signalled it was in no rush to sign a long-mooted accord.
After years of resisting efforts by the 10-member Asean to start talks on an agreement on maritime rules governing behaviour in the region, the so-called Code of Conduct, China has said it would host talks between senior officials this month.
Friction over the South China Sea, one of the world's most important waterways, has surged as China uses its growing naval might to assert its vast claims over the oil-and gas-rich sea more forcefully, raising fears of a military clash.
Four Asean nations, including Vietnam and the Philippines, have overlapping claims with China.