China's aim in this respect is obvious - that is, making its control over the South China Sea a fait accompli by buying time through dialogue with ASEAN and gutting the substance of the code.
In July Vietnam shut down drilling for oil and gas 400 kilometres off its coast after China threatened to attack its bases in disputed waters.
The Philippines had wanted no mention of reclamation because there had been no change on the subject since the previous Asean meeting. The administration of President Rodrigo Duterte has agreed, in effect, to postpone dealing with its dispute with China in exchange for a massive amount of economic assistance from that nation. ASEAN may have summoned the nerve to give China a rhetorical slap on the wrist, but Beijing still achieved its main objective at the summit: the negotiation of a wishy-washy, noncommittal "framework" for a code of conduct in the South China Sea, which no one seriously expects to be legally binding.
On the other hand, China stressed that all its activities in this area are carried out in accordance with the worldwide law and that Japan is not in a stance to interfere.
The ministers failed to release a customary joint statement after meeting on Saturday due to their differences on the sea issue and follow-up negotiations on Sunday did not end the stand-off, two diplomats told AFP.
North Korea has made no secret of its plans to develop a nuclear-tipped missile capable of striking the United States, and has ignored global calls to halt its nuclear and missile programmes.
Mattis says U.S. wants diplomatic solution for N. Korea
Turnbull added: "If North Korea decides to carry out some of its violent threats, then obviously awful consequences will follow". Trump has said he would not allow Pyongyang to develop a nuclear weapon capable of hitting the United States.
The ASEAN foreign ministers expressed concern over North Korea's missile and nuclear tests that threatens peace, security and stability in the region and world.
China is providing a welcome boost to the global campaign to pressure North Korea to halt its missile and nuclear tests.
They urged Pyongyang to immediately comply fully with its obligations under all relevant UN Security Council Resolutions.
The issue of allowing South Korea to press forward with more long-range and lethal ballistic missiles is under serious consideration by top Defense Department leaders, Pentagon spokesman Capt. Jeff Davis said Monday.
As a sign of the booming ties between China and the 10-country group, China has been Asean's largest trade partner for eight years. They also called for complete denuclearization of the Korean peninsula in a peaceful manner.
Vietnam a week ago strongly criticized a Chinese-built cinema on an island that the southeast asian country claims.
Foreign Affairs spokesperson Robespierre Bolivar also said on Monday that he did not see a contradiction between the Philippines' stand and the concern raised by Australia, Japan, and the U.S.