ASEAN anxious over South China Sea disputes

Malaysia's Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Anifah Aman said the ministers reaffirmed the importance of peace, security, stability and freedom of navigation on the sea and over it.
PHOTO: Reuters

KUALA LUMPUR - ASEAN ministers are "seriously concerned" over the South China Sea maritime and territorial disputes.

Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Anifah Aman said the ministers reaffirmed the importance of peace, security, stability and freedom of navigation on the sea and over it.

"In this regard, the ministers remain seriously concerned about the ongoing developments and urge all parties to exercise self-restraint," he said.

He said they also noted that there was an urgent need to strengthen "the full and effective implementation" of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea.

Also, the implementation of an effective Code of Conduct in the South China Sea needed to be speeded up, said the ministers, according to Anifah.

He was speaking at a press conference after a meeting with ASEAN foreign ministers yesterday.

The South China Sea is claimed by four ASEAN countries - Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines and Vietnam - as well as China and Taiwan.

Yesterday's was the last foreign ministers' meeting that Malaysia would chair this year, in preparation for the 27th ASEAN Summit which begins today.

Earlier, in his opening remarks at the meeting, Anifah said it was important for ASEAN leaders to continue improving policy coherence, effectiveness, coordination and co-operation in the various sectors, ASEAN institutions and mechanisms.

"It is also useful for us to take stock of the progress of implementation and follow up on agreements and decisions made by our leaders at the previous summit," he said.

Anifah expressed confidence that ASEAN would continue to build on its achievements and attain its aspiration of becoming a truly integrated community in the next decade.

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