Senior Chinese and Southeast Asian officials say they have agreed on guidelines to govern behavior in the hotly disputed and resource-rich South China Sea.
Chinese diplomat Liu Zhenmin called it a "milestone document."
For years, Beijing has resisted calls for a binding code of conduct that would require disputes in the waterway to be solved peacefully and without threats of violence.
But in a rare sign of cooperation, Zhenmin and officials from the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations agreed Wednesday that the two sides would work together toward reaching that goal.
The South China Sea, a busy shipping lane believed to be rich in oil and natural gas, is claimed in entirety by China, Taiwan and Vietnam and in part by the Philippines, Malaysia and Brunei.