China wants mly drills with Asean in disputed sea

US Secretary of State Pompeo calls on Dr Mahathir

Cavusoglu, Singh meeting came on the sidelines of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) foreign ministers' meeting.

Background: China and ASEAN recently made progress toward adopting a shared code of conduct for unplanned maritime encounters in the South China Sea.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi called the negotiating draft "the biggest highlight" of the meeting. "This is a breakthrough for the COC [code of conduct] negotiation".

When summarising the joint communique, Dr Balakrishnan described the annual meeting among ASEAN foreign ministers as a "good session" and quipped that "one index of that is we are able to issue the communique well ahead of time".

China and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) strengthen today their links on occasion of the 15th anniversary of the foundation of the strategic association between the parts. "We believe that without any disturbances from the outside, COC (code of conduct) consultations will accelerate", Wang said.

The United States-traditionally the dominant military power in the area-has more frequently carried out patrols aimed at ensuring freedom of navigation.

India and ASEAN plan to foster cooperation across three pillars of the ASEAN Community, focusing on marine collaboration and trade-investment facilitation in order to lift bilateral trade to 200 billion Dollars in 2025.

Also, Turkish foreign minister earlier met his US, Indonesian, Japanese and Iranian counterparts separately.

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"Singapore and Asean stand ready to support our Laotian and Indonesian friends during this hard time", said Mr Lee.

"We will use these drills as a starting point to expand China and Asean's military communications and security cooperation, to together face security concerns and to protect the stability of the region", Wang told a news conference.

The agreement is the first step in solving various territorial disputes in South China Sea.

Japan's Foreign Minister Taro Kono also said, "I am certain that RCEP will contribute greatly to economic integration in East Asia, given the current global situation where protectionism is on the rise".

China has transformed seven disputed reefs into man-made islands replete with three runways, surface-to-air missiles and other weapons systems.

ASEAN ministers pledged in June to "substantially conclude" the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) by the end of this year.

What Happened: Naval forces from China and countries in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) held joint drills simulating emergency responses in the South China Sea, AP reported August 3.

The US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo attended the meeting with the ASEAN nations also stated that the US will continue to mount pressure on North Korea.

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