A US State Department official said China and the US will announce new cooperative efforts on humanitarian disaster relief and wildlife protection during next month’s Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Regional Forum, Reuters reported. Kurt Campbell, assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific Affairs, said in remarks to a Washington think tank that he could not reveal details of the programs, but said they would help to allay fears that Southeast Asian nations could become embroiled in conflict between the US and China. The two areas of collaboration are uncontroversial and indicate that the US may strike a different tone than it did in 2010, when Secretary of State Hillary Clinton suggested a multilateral solution to conflict in the South China Sea. Her remarks received positive reception from Southeast Asian nations but a cold response from China. Southeast Asian nations are working with China on a “Code of Conduct,” which Campbell cited in his remarks, although the US is not involved in those discussions.
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