On the heels of the ASEAN conference, the Philippines and China begin their own attempt to resolve their differences in the South China Sea today.
The talks came as Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte said in Manila his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping had warned him on Monday there would be war if Manila tried to enforce an arbitration ruling and drill for oil in a disputed part of the sea.
China and ASEAN members yesterday approved the framework of the SCS Code of Conduct (COC), a crucial step towards peacefully resolving territorial disputes in the area.
Until recently, progress has been slow amid disputes over the body of water that China claims virtually in its entirety. "We hope that our consultations on the code are not subject to any outside interference", Liu said, according to Reuters, in a message likely pointed at the United States. China wants a peaceful region to achieve more prosperity.
"We hold a very open attitude to normal exchanges between countries", she said when asked to comment on the exercise in the South China Sea, which is claimed by China nearly in its entirety.
Duterte disclosed Xi's alleged threat in a speech on Friday as he hit back at domestic critics, Carpio among them, who said he has gone soft on Beijing by refusing to push it to comply with The Hague ruling.
President Donald Trump has eased up on Beijing over the South China Sea - a decision that may be linked to efforts to enlist China's help in reining in North Korea. That document saw all eleven parties pledge their commitment to eventually conclude a binding code of conduct.
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China claims nearly all of the resource-rich South China Sea (SCS), including islands more than 800 miles from the Chinese mainland, despite objections from neighbours such as the Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei and Vietnam.
Just under a year ago, the Philippines infuriated Beijing by winning a case at an worldwide tribunal over disputed islands in the contested waters.
After his China's visit on May 14 to 16, the Philippines received billions of grants from the Chinese government.
"We intend to drill for oil there", he recalled telling Mr Xi.
The participants have not mentioned dates for the adoption of a full code of conduct, and while Huang said he thought the sides could act as early as this year to seize the positive momentum, Storey said a final agreement was likely "some years off".
The ruling last July by the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague voided China's claim to nearly all of the South China Sea and declared China had infringed on the traditional rights of Philippine fishing boats in the area.
The agreement was reached in a meeting between senior officials of the Association of South-East Asian Nations and China in the southern city of Guiyang, said Robespierre Bolivar, a spokesman for the Philippines' Department of Foreign Affairs.