Top diplomats of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) have drafted a communique seeking audience with China's senior government officials to avoid military clashes in the disputed South China Sea region.
The ASEAN diplomats wanted to hold the talks to discuss the guidelines on non-aggression pact with Asia's superpower, China.
The final communique will be delivered by the 10 ASEAN foreign ministers to China to start discussing talks on the code of conduct in the South China Sea, a shipping lane that transports USD 5 trillion worth of goods a year.
The South China sea is also known for its billion-dollar worth natural gas reserves that can be converted to energy. China coast guard had a series of confrontation with some fishermen of ASEAN nations in the disputed region.
The Philippines earlier said that it would open talks with China on joint exploration in the disputed territory which both countries chose to describe as one way to diffuse tensions.
China said that disputes in the South China Sea should be resolved by claiming parties and should not allow outsiders to resolve the dispute. Analysts believe that China was then referring to the US, which has been insisting on the freedom of navigation to be applied in the South China Sea.
The ASEAN ministerial meeting started today in Manila and topping the agenda aside from the issue of the South China Sea include the missile test being conducted by North Korea and the rise of Islamic radicalism in the maritime.
Nearly 13,000 police officers were deployed in Manila today to provide security to 1,700 diplomats attending the Summit.