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South China Sea: Beijing warns Asean members against backing ‘troublemaker’ US in region

Beijing has dialled up the pressure on its Southeast Asian neighbours ahead of key talks in the South China Sea dispute, with a senior diplomat warning them against backing US efforts in the region.

Luo Zhaohui, China’s deputy foreign minister for Asian affairs, also said negotiations with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations on a code of conduct in the waterway would resume on Thursday after being delayed by the coronavirus pandemic.

The talks began in 2002 but have stalled over Beijing’s insistence that “countries outside the region” be excluded, an apparent reference to the United States. Asean nations are increasingly torn between the feuding superpowers amid a growing risk of an all-out confrontation in the region.

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