Southeast Asia nations to start talks with China on sea code

Southeast Asian leaders are to announce the start of negotiations with China on a so-called "code of conduct" in the disputed South China Sea in what they regard as a milestone but some experts dismiss as a non-starter.

Leaders of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations will also sign an accord aiming to protect migrant workers from the poverty-wracked region during a two-day summit that opened Monday in Manila, according to a draft of a post-summit communique seen by The Associated Press.

The ASEAN leaders will also reiterate their "grave concern" over North Korea's development of "weapons of mass destruction, including nuclear and chemical weapons, and ballistic missile technologies," and press their strong condemnation of terrorism in the communique.