Philippines, Vietnam discuss how to tackle sea feuds with China
MANILA (AP) - The Philippines' top diplomat said he and his Vietnamese counterpart discussed on Thursday how their governments can work together to deal with territorial disputes with China, including a possible sharing of information to better guard their territories from intrusions.
Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario and Vietnamese Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh agreed in their meeting in Manila to ask the regional bloc, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, to seek an early start of negotiations with China on a legally binding accord to prevent an armed conflict from breaking out in the disputed South China Sea.
The territorial rifts were high in the agenda of the meeting, which also touched on increasing trade and a possible extradition pact.
Chinese diplomats and those from the 10-member Asean have agreed to soon hold consultations on how such a "code of conduct" in the South China Sea should be concluded. Mr Del Rosario said Asean should insist negotiations should start immediately after the consultations.