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China, Japan extract combustible ice from seafloor

19 May 2017

Turning to the East Sea issue, participants acknowledged the outcomes of the ASEAN-China SOM on DOC on May 18, including a consensus on submitting the draft framework of a Code of Conduct in the East Sea (COC) to the ASEAN-China Ministerial Meeting in August for consideration and approval.

Researchers say they managed to extract gas from flammable ice in the South China Sea. China appears to have installed the systems in order to protect the island from Vietnamese combat divers.

But they caution that big barriers - both technological and environmental - need to be cleared to build an industry around the frozen fuel, which is also known as gas hydrate. Although China says it respects freedom of navigation in the strategically vital area, it objects to US military activities, especially the collection of signals intelligence by USA craft operating near the coast of its southern island province of Hainan, home to several military installations.

The two countries are telling the worldwide community that they are capable of handling issues of common concern without a third party's interference, Wu stressed.

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"Let's start with it being binding, gentlemen's agreement".

A Chinese foreign ministry press release said on Thursday that all the parties have agreed to peacefully resolve the SCS disputes through negotiations and dialogue. It contains elements that the parties agreed upon and will be presented to Chinese and ASEAN foreign ministers in August for consideration, the statement from the Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs said.

China claims to have successfully collected samples of natural gas hydrates (NGH) or combustible ice in the South China Sea.

The code framework would envisage a round-the-clock hotline and urge defence officials to find ways to follow the code, Chee Wee Kiong of Singapore's foreign ministry said on Thursday. Romana is leading the Philippines' delegation to kick off discussions regarding the countries' conflicting claims in the South China Sea. ASEAN is now chaired by the Philippines, whose leader Rodrigo Duterte has pursued a bilateral rapprochement with Beijing since being sworn into office in June 2016.

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At a briefing in Beijing earlier this week, Romana said the sides had "turned a new page" on dealing with their South China Sea issues.

China and four ASEAN member states - Malaysia, Vietnam, Philippines, and Brunei - are claimants to disputed features in the South China Sea.

"It does not mean the differences have disappeared".

A Philippine flag flutters from BRP Sierra Madre, a dilapidated Philippine Navy ship that has been aground since 1999 and became a Philippine military detachment on the disputed Second Thomas Shoal, part of the Spratly Islands, in the South China Sea, March 29, 2014.

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China claims most of the energy-rich South China Sea, through which about US$5 trillion in sea-borne trade passes every year.

China, Japan extract combustible ice from seafloor