ASEAN Urges Restoration of Mutual Trust Amid South China Sea Tensions

MANILA: The foreign ministers of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) have expressed concern over escalating tensions in the South China Sea. A statement released Saturday night by the ASEAN diplomats highlighted the threat these developments pose to regional peace and stability. "We closely follow with concern the recent developments in the South China Sea that may undermine peace, security, and stability in the region," the statement read, emphasizing the importance of maintaining peace, safety, security, stability, and freedom of navigation and overflight in the area.

According to Philippines News Agency, there is a crucial need for all parties involved to exercise self-restraint and re-establish mutual trust in the region. They called for actions that would avoid complicating the situation and stressed the importance of peaceful dispute resolution in accordance with international law, including the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. The diplomats also reiterated the importance of fully implementing the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea and committed to working towards the early conclusion of an effective and substantive Code of Conduct in the South China Sea.

The ASEAN foreign ministers welcomed the recent maritime dialogue between China and the United States, expressing hope that it would contribute to ASEAN's efforts to enhance stability and cooperation in the maritime domain of the region. "We reaffirm our unity and solidarity and our shared commitment to maintaining and further strengthening stability in our maritime sphere to bring about overall peace, security, stability, and prosperity in our region," the statement concluded, underlining the collective commitment of ASEAN nations to regional stability and cooperation.