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Asean Still Pushing for South China Sea Code of Conduct, Says Ng

Southeast Asian nations are progressing with China on a code of conduct for the contested South China Sea, with overcoming issues of sovereignty the “holy grail” of such a charter, Singapore’s Defense Minister Ng Eng Hen said.

“I think there can be quick resolution on freedom of navigation,” Ng told reporters today in Honolulu after attending a two-day meeting of defense ministers from Southeast Asia hosted by U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel. “Fisheries gets a little bit more complex and hydro-carbon issues get very much more complex and obviously the holy grail is sovereignty issues.”