The Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea was signed by China and ASEAN countries on November 4, 2002 during the Eighth ASEAN Summit in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. It stresses solving the South China Sea dispute through peaceful means. Before settlement of the dispute, the parties involved should show restraint and not take actions that will complicate the dispute. It is the first political document signed by China and ASEAN on the South China Sea issue.
The Agreement Between China and Viet Nam on the Delimitation of the Territorial Sea, Exclusive Economic Zone and Continental Shelf of the Two Countries in the Beibu Bay and The Agreement Between China and Viet Nam on Fishery Cooperation in the Beibu Bay were signed in Beijing on December 25, 2000 and came into effect on June 30, 2004. The former is the first maritime border agreement China has signed with a neighboring country. The Beibu Bay, shared by China and Viet Nam, lies in the northwest of the South China Sea.
The Tripartite Agreement for Joint Marine Seismic Undertakings in the Agreement Area in the South Sea was signed on the March 14, 2005 in Manila, the Philippines, by the China National Offshore Oil Corp., the Viet Nam Oil and Gas Corp., and the Philippine National Oil Co. It marked the first step taken by the countries to put aside territorial disputes and engage in joint resource exploration.