China's foreign minister says maritime code negotiations with ASEAN to start this year

MANILA (Reuters) - China’s foreign minister said on Sunday negotiations between Southeast Asian countries and China on a code of conduct for the South China Sea would start this year, and whatever agreement is made must be adhered to.

Wang Yi told reporters on the sidelines of a regional meeting that there had been “really tangible progress” made between the 10-member Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) and China towards settling disputes in the South China Sea, and all sides needed to cherish that momentum.

ASEAN and China have agreed on a framework for how they will go about drafting a code.

Wang said the situation between claimant states was quite different to previous years and was now more relaxed and conducive to stability.

Reporting by Christian Shepherd and Martin Petty; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman