China on Friday offered 3 billion yuan (US$474.36 million) to set up a maritime cooperation with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, Vietnam Deputy Foreign Minister Pham Quang Vinh said in a briefing during the First Expanded ASEAN Maritime Forum held in Manila.
According to the Vietnamese official, China and Vietnam identified possible areas of cooperation based on the implementing guidelines to the ASEAN Declaration of Conduct in the South China Sea and to make the forum work to address territorial disputes.
"There are a number of cooperation identified. China also announced a Maritime Cooperation Fund between ASEAN and China, then we will work together to identify activities," Pham said.
China committed 3 billion yuan for the maritime cooperation fund between China and Asean, he noted. Pham said ASEAN and China are discussing possible activities to finance. ASEAN and China cooperate in maritime issues including navigation safety, biodiversity and search and rescue.
"Among the challenges that we are discussing is the question of territorial disputes, and we discussed in a way how to contain it and how to ensure an environment of peace, stability and maritime security can… establish peace, stability and maritime security so that we can enhance cooperative activities," Pham was quoted as saying in a briefing at the forum’s sidelines.
ASEAN and East Asian countries, as well as China, Japan, Russia, and United States discussed the challenges and areas of cooperation in South China Sea in the maritime forum in Manila.