Four Indonesian soldiers killed, eight injured at South China Sea training

At the same time, the Philippines and Vietnam have been pursuing warmer ties with Beijing, which has taken the sting out of an global court ruling a year ago, invalidating China's nine-dash line - the controversial marker it uses to claim most of the South China Sea.

Report says the measure is part of a response that began in May 2014, when Vietnamese divers installed large numbers of fishing nets in the Paracel Islands. Beijing claims almost all of the South China Sea, despite partial counter-claims from Taiwan and several ASEAN members including the Philippines, Brunei, Malaysia, and Vietnam. It also invalidated China's nine-dash line.

In a statement released after the meeting, the Chinese delegation said that both sides exchanged views on the importance of addressing concerns and handling incidents and disputes in the South China Sea in an appropriate manner.

The Philippines last month hosted the 30 ASEAN summit, which was highlighted by a watered-down communique that evaded reference to China's maritime encroachment in the South China Sea.

But Carpio suggested the Philippines' recourse is to bring China's threat of war to another UNCLOS arbitral tribunal, to secure an order directing China to comply with the ruling of the UNCLOS arbitral tribunal that declared the Reed Bank part of Philippine EEZ. This was likely a compromise reached by ASEAN, which wants a legally binding code, and China, which opposes the idea. The ruling was adamantly rejected by the Chinese government.

Duterte said Xi gave him the firm but friendly warning when the two met in Beijing on Monday.

Rouhani says regional stability impossible without Iran
Mr Rouhani also said Iran would continue its ballistic missile programme, which has been heavily criticised by the Trump administration.

China has recently put on water its second aircraft carrier, which is its first Chinese-made vessel of this type. Its maritime branch passes through the South China Sea, and China appears ready to exercise its growing influence to the exclusion of parties it perceives as adverse to its ambitions-Singapore, with whom China has sparred recently, was not invited to this week's summit.

China and ASEAN committed to drafting the code 15 years ago, and while it should, in theory, tame how they behave in the South China Sea, it remains an open question whether Beijing will be willing to slow construction of artificial islands and pursuit of effective control over disputed territory.

Santa Romana denied the Philippines had sold its sovereignty on the South China Sea to secure investment from China.

The Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) and China on Thursday finished a draft framework for negotiating a code of conduct, despite regional scepticism whether Beijing will commit to rules likely to restrain its maritime ambitions. China has reacted strongly to such American patrols.

China's efforts to assert its dominance over the South China Sea, where more than $5 trillion in annual trade is ferried, have in the past angered Southeast Asian nations with competing claims, such as Vietnam and the Philippines.

  • Megan Austin