BEIJING (AP) — China says it has reached agreement with the 10 countries of the Association of Southeast Asia Nations on the rough outline of a legally binding code of conduct designed to prevent clashes in the strategic South China Sea.

State media on Friday quoted Vice Foreign Minister Liu Zhenmin as saying that the agreement reached the day before laid a “solid foundation” for further negotiations.

Liu said the text of the framework agreement would remain secret and projected no date for finalizing the code of conduct.

China and the members of ASEAN committed 15 years ago to signing a code of conduct, but progress has been slow amid disputes over the body of water that China claims virtually in its entirety.

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