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Rare ASEAN Statement Addresses Recent Tension in South China Sea, Reports Radio Free Asia

ASEAN has issued a standalone statement on the South China Sea, vowing to peacefully resolve disputes in the area.

The foreign ministers of the union expressed their concern about recent developments in the South China Sea and reaffirmed their commitment to maintaining peace, security, and stability in the region.

The statement comes amid ongoing maritime disputes between some ASEAN members in the area.

China and the Philippines, for example, have had confrontations near atolls within Manila’s exclusive economic zone. China and five other parties, including four ASEAN member states, hold competing claims in the South China Sea.

According to political scientist Shahriman Lockman, the statement likely emerged from Indonesia and the Philippines’ diplomatic efforts, and Indonesia is the rotating chair of ASEAN in 2024.

The six-point statement referred to international law, including UNCLOS, repeatedly, and emphasized the importance of the international legal and diplomatic processes.

The statement also noted the importance of the full and effective implementation of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC) and working towards a Code of Conduct in the South China Sea (COC) in accordance with international law.

The statement stopped short of calling out any specific country but expressed hope for continued dialogues to strengthen stability and cooperation in the region’s maritime sphere.

Edited by Taejun Kang and Elaine Chan.


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