ASEAN ministers said in a communique Sunday they "warmly welcome improving cooperation" with China and are ready to begin substantive negotiation on the code of conduct, but made no mention of making it binding.
He said he told Mr Ri "do not violate the United Nations decision or provoke the global community's goodwill by conducting missile launches or nuclear tests". "ASEAN stands ready to play a constructive role in contributing to peace and stability in the Korean Peninsula", they said.
North Korea is a participant to the ASEAN Regional Forum and has yet to comment on the ASEAN diplomats' concern over its nuclear programme.
As the ASEAN Foreign Ministers' Meeting and related meetings wrapped up here Tuesday, China and ASEAN continued to demonstrate a common will to further preserve the positive momentum of the previous year despite attempts of agitation by some countries and western media.
Reuters says that Australia, Japan, and the USA had insisted on the code of conduct being legally binding, and the South China Morning Post indicates that Vietnam also pushed for legal rules in the sea, which Beijing strongly opposes. In the official statement, Japan admitted to military involvement in the use of "comfort women" before and during World War II.
While Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has not shied away from lobbing insults at North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un, he was all warmth when he met North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong-Ho on Tuesday, August 8.
North Korea is determined to develop a nuclear-tipped missile capable of hitting the US.
Korean diplomat meets with ambassadors from ASEAN countries
The South China Sea portion in the latest draft communique, a negotiated text subject to changes, is a watered-down version of one issued in Laos previous year .
China has urged calm and restraint from all countries involved in the standoff.
Singapore will be chair when Asean plunges into the thick of negotiations to come up with a COC, meant to manage territorial disputes in the South China Sea.
Asean members feuded Sunday over how to respond to Chinese expansionism in the South China Sea, with Vietnam insisting on a tough stance but Cambodia lobbying hard for Beijing, according to diplomats.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said: "Recently, certain people, talking about the Korean Peninsula nuclear issue, have been exaggerating and giving prominence to the so-called 'China responsibility theory'".
It's not clear if the ministers will push for a legally binding code.
Wang also referred to the 1993 statement by his father, Yohei, who was Japan's chief cabinet secretary at that time, that acknowledged the involvement of the now-defunct Imperial Japanese Army in recruiting so-called comfort women.
China has refused to recognise the ruling, based on a 1982 maritime treaty.
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