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Pacific accord on maritime code could help prevent conflicts

Published on Apr 22, 2014 3:48 PM

QINGDAO (REUTERS) - More than 20 countries with interests in the western Pacific signed up to a framework maritime communication deal on Tuesday in what could a step towards ensuring that miscommunication between naval vessels does not develop into a conflict.

Naval officers from China and the United States told Reuters the document was not meant to directly address problems, including territorial issues, pitting China against several of its neighbours in the East and South China Seas.

But incidents in those waters have raised fears of an accidental clash, which could escalate into a broader conflict.

The United States wants clearer operational communications with the growing Chinese fleet, arrangements in part hampereed by different interpretations of what operations are acceptable in international waters, US naval officers have said.

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