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The 19th China-ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) Senior Officials’ Consultation has resulted in all member countries agreeing to work toward a code of conduct in the South China Sea.
China is ASEAN’s largest trading partner.
A Chinese foreign ministry press release on Tuesday said after the conclusion of the consultation it was agreed that all parties will commit themselves to fully implement the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea.
They will make joint efforts toward “a code of conduct in the South China Sea” and continue to exchange views on the issue.
This comes in the backdrop of the US administration’s announcement of a “pivot to Asia” strategy in October 2011, which drew widespread suspicion and criticism in China.
America’s military pivot towards Asia, moving away from middle-east engagements and towards ensuring China does not dominate the Asian region has been a sore issue in Sino-US ties.
All 10 ASEAN members are negotiating a free trade agreement with China, Japan, India, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand known as the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP).
According to the Chinese foreign ministry press release, China and ASEAN also agreed to co-host celebrations on the 10th anniversary of the establishment of the China-ASEAN strategic partnership and further expand friendly communication and cooperation in all fields.
Last year trade between China and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) grew by 10.2 per cent to $400.09 billion.
Earlier in January this year, Wu Bangguo, then chairman of the Standing Committee of China’s National People’s Congress, said the relations between China and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) play an important role in maintaining stability and promoting development in Asia.
According to research by the Financial Times, China provides more loans to developing countries than the World Bank.
The BRICS Post