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Australia, Japan, US call for South China Sea code to be legally binding

Australia, Japan, US call for South China Sea code to be legally binding
Chinese dredging vessels are purportedly seen in the waters around Mischief Reef in the disputed Spratly Islands in the South China Sea in this still image. U.S. Navy/Handout via Reuters/File Photo
MANILA: Australia, Japan and the United States on Monday urged Southeast Asian nations and China to ensure that a South China Sea code of conduct they have committed to draft will be legally binding.
The Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) and China should establish a set of rules that were "legally binding, meaningful, effective, and consistent with international law," the foreign ministers of the three countries said in a statement following a meeting in Manila.

They also urged China and the Philippines to abide by last year's international arbitration ruling on the South China Sea.