The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) and Beijing met today in Laos to discuss the South China Sea territorial dispute issues.
The 10 country Asean group, consisting of Myanmar, Brunei, Cambodia, the Philippines, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam, resumed their discussions here on how to advance economic integration, before meeting with the Chinese delegation, headed by Prime Minister Li Keqiang, EFE news reported.
In addition to the economy, the dialogue between the two sides will also seek to address the territorial disputes in the South China Sea, where China claims almost the entire maritime area through which some $5 trillion worth of goods are annually transported and which contains large fishing grounds and potential oil and gas deposits.
China has claims to areas which are also claimed by Brunei, the Philippines, Malaysia, Vietnam and Taiwan.
Philippines and Vietnam have sought in the past that Asean opposes as a united front the Chinese claim, but were frustrated at recent summits by a veto of Cambodia, where China has large investment projects.