Asia-Pacific

ASEAN urges peace in South China Sea

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The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) has called for de-escalation of tensions in the disputed South China Sea.

During the ASEAN summit, held for the first time in Myanmar on Monday, the association leaders expressed concern over maritime disputes in the South China Sea and demanded all involving sides, especially China and Vietnam, to peacefully resolve the dispute.

The summit comes after Vietnamese and Chinese vessels clashed near a deep-sea oil rig that was recently positioned by China in the South China Sea.

The rig is located near an area which is claimed by both countries.

Vietnam and the Philippines have urged ASEAN to reprimand China over the tensions. Beijing says the area near the rig is its “inherent territory.”

Recently, China slammed the United States for fueling tensions in Eastern Asia by encouraging countries to engage in dangerous behavior.

“We urge the United States to act in accordance with maintaining the broader picture of regional peace and security, and act and speak cautiously on the relevant issue, stop making irresponsible remarks and do more to maintain regional peace and stability,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying Chunying told a daily news briefing on May 9.

The Chinese official was referring to statements by the US Department of State, which criticized Beijing over a clash between Chinese and Vietnamese vessels in the South China Sea.

Tensions are also brewing between China and the Philippines in another part of the sea, following the seizure of a Chinese fishing boat and its crew by Philippine police.

Observers believe the United States’ efforts to increase its presence in the region are aimed at containing China. Beijing has already demanded that Washington stay out of regional disputes.

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