By Pia Lee-Brago
MANILA, Philippines — Southeast Asian foreign ministers yesterday called for non-militarization and self-restraint in the conduct of all activities by claimants and all other states in the South China Sea.
“We emphasized the importance of non-militarization and self-restraint in the conduct of all activities by claimants and all other states, including those mentioned in the DOC (Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea) that could further complicate the situation and escalate tensions in the South China Sea,” the ministers declared in a delayed joint communiqué.
The statement said the ministers discussed extensively the matters relating to the South China Sea and took note of the concerns expressed by some of them on the land reclamations and activities in the area, which have eroded trust and confidence, increased tensions and may undermine peace, security and stability in the region.
They reaffirmed the importance of maintaining and promoting peace, security, stability, safety and freedom of navigation in and over-flight above the South China Sea.
They also cited the need to enhance mutual trust and confidence, exercise self-restraint in the conduct of activities and avoid actions that may further complicate the situation, and pursue peaceful resolution of disputes in accordance with international law, including the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.
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