Philippines: China wanted to restrict foreign forces at sea

MANILA, Philippines (AP) — The Philippine foreign secretary says China has sought to restrict the presence of foreign military powers in the South China Sea and foreign involvement in oil and gas projects in the disputed region under a pact it's negotiating with Southeast Asian nations.

Foreign Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. said Wednesday, however, that China has eased up on those demands, removing potential obstacles in the conclusion of the so-called "code of conduct" that it's negotiating with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.

China and the 10-nation ASEAN bloc have been negotiating the nonaggression pact in an effort to deter aggressive acts by Beijing and other claimant states that could spark a major armed confrontation in the disputed territories, which straddle some of the world's busiest sea lanes.