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Asean Wants Code of Conduct on South China Sea Before Talks

China claims the highlighted portion of the South China Sea. Many other governments also claim all or part of the South China Sea.

Prime Minister Hun Sen announced Wednesday that Asean leaders are not ready to sit down with China over the South China Sea until they have agreed on a code of conduct.

Hun Sen addressed reporters at the end of an Asean summit in Phnom Penh, where discussions on the South China Sea were rushed onto Wednesday’s agenda.

Hun Sen said claims on the South China Sea should remain a regional issue between “Asean and China only,” not an issue requiring outside interference.

Several Asean members, notably the Philippines and Vietnam, have overlapping claims to the sea with China and Taiwan.

Asean leaders also called for renewed six-party talks on the North Korean nuclear issue, calling it a matter of regional security.

“We are calling for concerted international action to persuade North Korea not to proceed with [a nuclear] launch,” said Albert del Rosario, foreign secretary for the Philippines.

Asean Secretary-General Surin Pitsuwan called the nuclear issue one of “high concern” to Asean members.