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China ready for military drills with ASEAN in S. China Sea, excluding US – document

China wants military exercises and energy exploration with Southeast Asian nations in disputed waters, according to a draft code of conduct between Beijing and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). However, Beijing insists on outside countries being excluded in what analysts said was a bid to diminish US influence, AFP reports. Beijing’s suggestions are part of efforts to expand its influence in the South China Sea and push back at Washington which has backed countries with overlapping claims to the waters. The code of conduct has been years in the making. In the draft document, Vietnam offers the strongest opposition to Beijing’s activities, calling for countries to stop building artificial islands and establishing military installations.