China, ASEAN countries hold simulated naval drills

US Secretary of State Pompeo calls on Dr Mahathir

Speaking at a press conference, Singapore's Foreign Affairs Minister Vivian Balakrishnan described the wide variety of topics discussed as the grouping's responses to "tectonic shifts" that have rendered ASEAN at an "inflexion point".

During the annual meeting of their foreign ministers in Singapore Thursday, an agreement was announced on an initial draft of a "code of conduct", a set of rules to discourage aggression and reduce chances of accidental clashes and miscalculations.

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

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.

While full details of the proposed deal were not disclosed, Cayetano said officials from both sides and independent experts on worldwide law were drafting a framework for the agreement.

And with the fourth industrial revolution underway, the region must make full use of technology to bring Asean closer together, embrace innovation, build up digital connectivity and prepare itself for the future, Mr Lee added.

The document shows ASEAN will also reiterate its commitment to wrap up a major trade pact backed by China, against the backdrop of protectionist trade policies from the United States, and urge steps towards denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula.

Maritime disputes are one of the key agenda items at the Asean meeting.

Turkey, US agree to work together to resolve issues
Pompeo met with Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu on the sidelines of a Southeast Asian security conference in Singapore. On the sanctions, he said: "I hope they'll see this for what it is, a demonstration that we're very serious".

Foreign Affairs Minister Saifuddin Abdullah says Malaysia stands firm in the belief that all parties must exercise self-restraint over the South China Sea issue.

"As part of our commitment to advancing regional security in the Indo-Pacific, the United States is excited to announce almost $300 million in new funding to reinforce security cooperation throughout the entire region", he said.

In October, China and ASEAN are to hold their first joint maritime exercises as they elevate their security cooperation.

China will continue to regard the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) as the priority of its neighborhood diplomacy and be committed to good neighborliness and friendship, mutual benefit and win-win cooperation, he said, adding that China supports ASEAN community building as well as ASEAN's central role. Yet, in an apparent reference to China, Pompeo said Washington will "oppose" any country that seeks dominance in the region.

Saifuddin co-chaired the meeting with Mike Pompeo, the US Secretary of State.

The two officials said China and ASEAN member states gave their inputs in recent weeks to Singapore, which collated them into a negotiating draft.

Indonesia is expected to table a detailed proposal on the Indo Pacific regional architecture at the East Asia Summit Ministerial Meeting, emphasizing ASEAN centrality and inclusiveness.

Mr Pompeo also called on Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.

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