ASEAN calls for hotline and self-restraint to ease South China Sea tensions Published: 2016/7/25 15:43:02

ASEAN countries call for self-restraint in all activities and oppose militarization of the South China Sea, a joint communiqué issued by ASEAN ministers on July 24 declared.

The communiqué of the 49th ASEAN Foreign Ministers' Meeting said activities in the South China Sea including land reclamation have increased tensions and "eroded trust and confidence" in the region.

Wang Yi, Chinese Foreign Minister, said that the phrase "land reclamation" in the joint communiqué does not refer to China, as China is not engaged in any such activities in the South China Sea region. "Then which country does it refer to? I won't give a name," said Wang.

In a move to ease tensions, ASEAN countries are working with China to establish a hotline to deal with maritime emergencies in the contested waters, said the statement. 

They also look forward to the adoption of a joint statement on the observance of the Code for Unplanned Encounters at Sea (CUES) in the South China Sea.

The maritime hotline and the CUES statement may "reduce tensions, and the risks of accidents, misunderstandings and miscalculation," said the communiqué.

These moves are just part of ASEAN's continued push to prioritize maritime cooperation with China, as Cambodian Foreign Affairs Secretary of State Soeung Rathchavy explained to the Global Times at the ASEAN Senior Officials' Meeting in Laos on July 22.

Posted in: Diplomacy

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