Southeast Asian countries and China will establish hotlines and adopt communications protocols to avoid potential naval clashes in the disputed waters of the South China Sea, a Philippines Foreign Ministry official said Friday.

The protocols will be signed in Laos next week, when heads of the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) meet with leaders from other regional powers — China, Japan, South Korea, Australia, India, Russia and the United States — for a three-day summit.

The mechanism, called the Code for Unplanned Encounters at Sea (CUES), would be new for both ASEAN and China, Foreign Affairs Assistant Secretary Helen de la Vega told a news conference.