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Southeast Asia ministers didn't discuss US plan on sea claims, diplomat says

Published on Aug 9, 2014 1:20 PM

NAYPYIDAW (REUTERS) - Southeast Asian foreign ministers did not discuss a US proposal for a freeze on provocative acts in the disputed South China Sea, a senior diplomat said, an apparent setback to US efforts to rein in China's assertive actions.

Le Luong Minh, secretary general of Asean, said the proposal was not discussed by foreign ministers in their meeting on Friday because there was already a mechanism in place to curtail actions such as land reclamation and building on disputed islands and reefs.

"It's not even an issue of Asean supporting or not supporting that proposal," he told Reuters, noting that China and Asean had already committed to "self restraint" on such action in an agreement signed in 2002.

Most claimants have flouted those guidelines, leading to rising tension in the South China Sea between four Asean claimant nations and China, which claims 90 per cent of the sea.

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