KUALA LUMPUR - China reiterated its commitment to work with ASEAN countries to draw up and implement a binding code of conduct for the South China Sea but indicated that the process might take time.
China's Foreign Affairs Vice-Minister Liu Zhenmin described the recent China-ASEAN senior officials' meeting on the implementation of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DoC) as successful, saying the discussions had now entered what he called a new stage.
"We hope in the coming months or years, the discussions will be intensified.
"We are looking forward to work with member countries of ASEAN to push forward the implementation of the DoC and a Code of Conduct (CoC)," he said at the sideline of the 48th ASEAN Ministerial Meeting (AMM) here.
Liu said China's meeting with ASEAN on the sea dispute in Tianjin had reached a number of agreements.
"The consultation will now enter a new stage and we hope to deal with crucial and complicated issues, including identifying common elements for the preparation of the framework of the CoC."
He added that it was another step forward in the discussions, with the next meeting expected to be held sometime in late October.
ASEAN and China agreed in 2002 on a DoC, a document which among others, reaffirmed the parties' commitment to international law.
China, Taiwan and ASEAN members - Malaysia, the Philippines, Vietnam and Brunei - are disputing the maritime boundaries in the resource-rich seas.