ASEAN: Reclamations in West PHL Sea eroded trust

After the closing ceremony, August 6, of 48th ASEAN Foreign Ministers Meeting in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia – a joint communiqué was released. “We discussed extensively the matters relating to the South China Sea and remained seriously concerned over recent and ongoing developments in the area,” the ASEAN Foreign Ministers said.

They also noted “serious concerns expressed by some Ministers on the land reclamations in the South China Sea, which have eroded trust and confidence, increased tensions and may undermine peace, security and stability in the South China Sea.”

They also called for the full and effective implementation of Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC) which prescribes to build, maintain and enhance mutual trust and confidence. The DOC also promotes exercise of self-restraint in the conduct of activities that would complicate or escalate disputes.

The ASEAN ministers also noted that DOC prescribes resolution of differences and disputes through peaceful means in accordance with universally recognized principles of international law including the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. And not to resort to threat or use of force.

“We welcomed the recent outcome of the 9th ASEAN-China SOM on the Implementation of the DOC whereby they agreed to proceed to the next stage of consultations and negotiate the framework, structure, elements as well as to address crucial, difficult and complicated issues relating to the proposed COC (Code of Conduct in the South China Sea),” they said.

The group of foreign ministers also said they were updated on the case filed by Philippines against China’s maritime claims. “The Philippines briefed the Meeting on further developments including matters particularly relating to the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).”