by Kanaha Sabapathy
Updated 3 hours 8 minutes ago
Photo: Flags of ASEAN nations on in Brunei's capital, Bandar Seri Begawan, for the Summit in April (Reuters) Map: Asia
Audio: Kanaha Sabapathy reports.(ABC News) ASEAN foreign ministers have agreed to take a unified position when they meet their Chinese counterpart in an attempt to resolve ongoing disputes over the South China Sea.
The meeting at the end of August is expected to address the issue of a code of conduct in the South China Sea.
China's claims to much of the maritime region have raised tensions not only between other claimants and China but also among ASEAN members themselves.
But Indonesian Foreign Minister, Marty Natalegawa, has told Radio Australia's Asia Pacific program that after two days of informal discussions in Thailand, they have agreed to speak with one voice.
"It is not meant to be a magic wand, it is meant to be a very concrete actionable set of rules and norms, rules and conduct, for the South China Sea," he said.
It's a vast improvement in relations since the release of the final declaration of the 2012 ASEAN summit was delayed when chair, Cambodia, refused to endorse a Philippines push for a tougher line with Beijing on the issue.
China has refused to upgrade the 2002 declaration of conduct into a legally binding code because it wants to negotiate individually with each country.
It is not meant to be a magic wand, it is meant to be a very concrete actionable set of rules and norms, rules and conduct, for the South China Sea.
Indonesian Foreign Minister, Marty Natalegawa
Vietnam, Malaysia and Brunei also have claims on the disputed Spratly islands.