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Chinese surveillance ships seized the Scarborough Shoal last year following a tense standoff with Philippine vessels. Then a few weeks ago, China deployed a frigate, surveillance ships and fishing boats to Second Thomas Shoal, which the Philippines says is part of its regular territory, in a move Filipino diplomats fear could be a prelude to a Chinese takeover of the area.

“This is a violation of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea,” Philippine Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario told fellow diplomats, referring to a 2002 accord between China and ASEAN that discourages aggressive moves that can provoke armed confrontations in disputed waters.

Southeast Asian nations wanted to turn the 2002 accord into a stronger, legally binding “code of conduct” to prevent the territorial rifts from turning violent, but China has not stated when it would sit down with ASEAN nations to negotiate such a pact.

In an apparent reference to the Philippines, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi told reporters in Brunei later Sunday that he believes “any activity taken by individual claimant countries to go against the trend will not enjoy the support of the majority of countries and will not succeed either.”

• Associated Press writer Jim Gomez in Manila contributed to this article.