The Philippines recently sent a warship to harass 12 Chinese fishing vessels which sailed into the waters of Huangyan Island to shelter from bad weather. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Weimin said at a regular news conference that Huangyan Island is an inherent part of Chinese territory.

Timeline: Disputes in the region More>>

Nov. 21, 2011

During the East Asia conference, the US and ASEAN countries aligned to effectively pressure China on their claims to hold "indisputable sovereignty" over the South China Seas.

Oct. 25, 2011

Global Times commentary warns of "sounds of cannons" if nations involved in territorial disputes in the South China Sea "don't want to change their ways with China."

Oct. 20, 2011

Annual joint US-Philippines marine drills begin, which include a hostile beach assault exercise near the Nansha Islands. At the same time, a Philippine warship struck a Chinese fishing boat in the South China Sea, leading to an apology by the Philippine Navy.

Oct. 18, 2011

Japanese Foreign Minister Koichiro Gemba proposed a multilateral framework to settle maritime disputes in the South China Sea during a tour of Indonesia and other South-east Asian countries, with China reiterating that it wants to resolve territorial disputes in the South China Sea through talks between nations that are directly involved, rather than involving other countries.

Oct. 11, 2011

China and Vietnam held talks about control of disputed islands in potentially oil-rich waters claimed by both nations. Both sides signed an agreement that seeks a peaceful resolution for the dispute by maintaining direct communications between the leaders of both countries.

25 July, 2011

Progress is deemed to have been made during the ASEAN Regional Forum. China and ASEAN established a deal to create a set of guidelines for future negotiations to establish a "code of conduct" as a "first step" towards a more sweeping, binding code of conduct. Chinese Foreign minister Yang Jiechi has said that "freedom of navigation in the region is guaranteed," as China has sought to keep the US out of direct negotiations on the region.

July 19, 2011

The South China Sea dispute is a key topic of discussion at the ASEAN Regional Forum in Bali.

July 15, 2011

Vietnam and US launch a series of naval exchanges.

July 9, 2011

The US, Japanese and Australian navies hold a joint drill in the South China Sea.

July 6, 2011

The Philippines' Foreign Secretary Alberto del Rosario visits China to seek a diplomatic solution.

June 28, 2011

The US and the Philippines begin routine naval drills near the South China Sea.

June 26, 2011

China and Vietnam agree to hold talks and resolve the territorial dispute.

June 13, 2011

Vietnam holds live-fire drills in the South China Sea.

May 2003
Vietnam issues a "sovereignty" declaration on the Chinese ban on fishing in the South China Sea, claiming that Vietnam has rights to the Paracel and Nansha Islands.
Nov. 2002
China and ASEAN adopt the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties on the South China Sea, setting the stage for possible commercial cooperation and long-term stability.

In May, Chinese and Philippine foreign ministers agree to "contribute positively toward the formulation and adoption of the regional Code of Conduct in the South China Sea." In December, Vietnam and China sign two agreements to resolve long-standing territorial disputes over the Gulf of Tonkin.