China is anxious it could face fresh criticism over its actions in the South China Sea when Singapore becomes chairman of the Association of South East Asian Nations next year, and is putting pressure on the city-state to make sure that doesn't happen, according to people familiar with the situation.
"When the situation in the South China Sea is generally stable, and if there is no major disruption from outside parties as the precondition, then we will consider during the November leaders' meeting - we will jointly announce - the official start of the [code of conduct] conversation", Wang told reporters after meeting with his Southeast Asian counterparts, who were in Manila ahead of the ASEAN Regional Forum on August 7. The next battle is over a proposed "code of conduct", which aims to stymie aggressive behavior in the disputed sea, including new construction and military fortifications.
"The South China Sea doesn't only include the Spratly Islands, and for Vietnam, developments on the disputed Paracels are just as destabilising". The statement was finally issued on Sunday.
There was no mention at all of the ruling previous year of the Permanent Court of Arbitration in the Hague on the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) which rejected China's claim to sovereignty over most of the South China Sea. "(The Chinese) are not reclaiming any more", he said.
With the rise of a friendly leader in the Philippines, China has been spared a vocal adversary in the disputed South China Sea.
As a sign of the booming ties between China and the 10-country group, China has been Asean's largest trade partner for eight years.
She stressed that the United States shares concerns over the developments in the region that they consider to be "unconducive to regional stability, such as land reclamation".
The framework is the product of a series of dialogues between ASEAN nations and China with the long term objective of avoiding violent confrontation in the region where China, Philippines, Indonesia, Vietnam, Malaysia and Brunei have overlapping territorial claims.
Philippine Foreign Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano holds a press conference on August 8, 2017, that tackled a range of topics including the Philippines' dispute with China over the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea). The meeting was hosted by Manila and attended by 1,700 delegates.
"Relations between China and Singapore have experienced ups and downs.
That's why, if you look at our statement, it is directed to all states that we shouldn't do anything in the area unilaterally and shouldn't do anything that will make us regret and lose trust and lead to conflict", Cayetano said.