Asean takes softer stance on S. China Sea

ASEAN leaders link arms during the opening ceremony of the 30th ASEAN Summit in Manila, Philippines, on April 29, 2017.
ASEAN leaders link arms during the opening ceremony of the 30th ASEAN Summit in Manila, Philippines, on April 29, 2017.PHOTO: REUTERS

South-east Asian leaders have called for the peaceful resolution of disputes in the South China Sea in a statement, after wrapping up the Asean summit in Manila over the weekend.

But the statement omitted any mention of Asean leaders seeking a stop to activities such as land reclamation and militarisation by China in the waterway, though this was in an earlier draft. It also did not touch on an international tribunal's ruling on a case filed by the Philippines, ruling against Beijing's claims in the South China Sea.

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, as Asean chair, was supposed to read out the statement last Saturday night, but it was released only yesterday.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 01, 2017, with the headline 'Asean takes softer stance on S. China Sea'. Print Edition | Subscribe