The Straits Times
Published on Nov 17, 2012

Asean urges 'hotline' with China over sea row


PHNOM PENH (AFP) - South-east Asian nations will propose opening a "hotline" with China aimed at defusing tensions over the South China Sea, Asean's chief said on Saturday.

Mr Surin Pitsuwan, secretary-general of the 10-member Association of South-east Asian Nations (Asean), said after a meeting of the bloc's foreign ministers that they had agreed to back the plan first mooted by Indonesia.

"This, of course, will be brought up to our Chinese friends," Mr Surin told reporters ahead of a gathering of leaders from the region that begins in Cambodia on Sunday.

"We can call it a red line, we can give it a sense of urgency that if there is anything developing that we all will be phoned... trying to consult, trying to coordinate, trying to contain any possible spillover of any... incident, accident, miscalculation, misunderstanding," he added.