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Asean to expedite code of conduct

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SINGAPORE (Reuters) – Asean is hoping to expedite negotiations on a code of conduct with China for the South China Sea but it is not realistic to expect an agreement within a year, Singapore’s defence minister said yesterday. China and the 10-member Asean bloc adopted a negotiating framework on the code for the disputed waterway, largely controlled by China but also claimed by some Asean states, in August and have begun talks. “We hope it will be expedited but it’s a very, very complex issue,” Singapore Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen told reporters after a gathering of Asean defence chiefs. “It’s a century’s old dispute. Expecting (the code) in one year is just unrealistic,” he said.

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