Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi meets reporters after the China-ASEAN Foreign Ministers' Meeting in Manila, the Philippines on Aug.6, 2017.
The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and China are a step closer to a resolution on disputed waters - but also to the more complicated process of drafting a Code of Conduct (COC) on South China Sea.
Clearly, the 50-year-old Asean has to evolve into a true regional bloc by developing a unified voice that reflects the aspirations of a genuine Asean Economic Community and its population of more than 600 million, not the vested interest of a single member state alone that panders in turn to the interest of any purveyor of influence and lucre aspiring to dominate the larger Asian region.
The situation in the South China Sea should also be "generally stable", he said.
But China, which claims virtually the entire South China Sea, is unlikely to allow the negotiations to move in that direction.
"These developments seriously threaten peace, security and stability in the region and the world", the statement said.
The Philippines brought its dispute with China to arbitration in 2013 and a Hague-based court ruled in 2016 that China's nine-dash-line claim has no basis in worldwide law.
Malaysia also pushed for some tougher language, including with a reference to "military assets" in the contested waters, according to the draft and discussions with diplomats involved in the discussions.
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With regard to the different opinions being raised against China, which seemed bent on militarizing the South China Sea despite a ruling by the International Tribunal, Wang said China does not comment on which individual country or countries have raised the issue.
The Philippines, under previous president Benigno Aquino, had been one of the most vocal critics of China and filed a case before a UN-backed tribunal.
While the minister did not refer to specific outside parties, he previously urged the ASEAN to resist outside influence when dealing with the dispute.
"There is no consensus yet", the diplomat said, adding the drafting committee was tasked with continuing the negotiations on Saturday night.
Second, how the COC consultations will be approached and sustained while upholding what principles shall be discussed at the Joint Working Group Meeting on the Implementation of the Declaration of Code of Conduct (DOC) at the end of August.
But security analysts point out that the framework comes 15 years after negotiations on the issue first began, and China has used that time to cement its claims with the artificial islands.
The event is taking place as Philippine security forces battle Islamic State-aligned gunmen who have since May been occupying parts of Marawi, the nation's main Muslim city about 800 kilometres (500 miles) to the south of Manila.