06 May 2017

News Story: Amid watered down statement, ASEAN ministers share South China Sea concern with Tillerson

By Patricia Lourdes Viray

MANILA, Philippines — Some Southeast Asian nations remain concerned over the militarization and land reclamation activities of Beijing in the South China Sea, according to the US Department of State.

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson recently hosted a meeting with foreign ministers of member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in Washington.

The meeting comes a few days after the conclusion of the 30th ASEAN Leaders' Summit in Manila.

US Department of State spokesperson Heather Nauert said that Tillerson and the ASEAN foreign ministers reaffirmed their adherence to a rules-based order in the Asia Pacific and to the common principles stipulated in the 2016 joint statement of the US-ASEAN Special Leaders' Summit.

"The Secretary noted shared concerns by many in the region regarding militarization and land reclamation in the South China Sea," Nauert said in a statement released Friday (Manila time).

In the "Sunnylands Declaration" issued in February last year, former US President Barack Obama and ASEAN leaders expressed stronger commitment to keeping peace in the South China Sea.

Read the full story at PhilStar