The inaugural ASEAN+8 Defense Ministers' Meeting concluded on Tuesday, with a joint declaration signed and other steps by China, its Asian neighbors and the US seen as easing tensions in the South China Sea.
Vietnam said that China had released the nine Vietnamese fishermen it had detained near disputed islands in the South China Sea.
Meanwhile, US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates accepted an invitation to visit China. US officials also announced that they believed Beijing would rethink its approach to the sensitive area, saying that it appeared to be backing away from characterizing the South China Sea as a "core" interest.
ADMM-Plus new platform for security, defense cooperation [Xinhua]
Asian military ties warm at Hanoi meeting [BBC]
In Asia, Tone Lightens on Sea Disputes [Wall Street Journal]