|This is the 5th time ASEAN has issued a statement on maritime issues since 1995__Photo: asean.org
The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Foreign Ministers on December 30 issued a statement on maintaining and promoting stability in the maritime sphere in Southeast Asia.
In the statement, the ministers said they closely follow with concern the recent developments in the East Sea and reaffirmed the importance of maintaining and promoting peace, safety, security, stability, and freedom of navigation in and overflight above the maritime sphere of Southeast Asia, particularly the East Sea.
“We also reaffirm the need to restore and enhance mutual trust and confidence as well as exercise self-restraint in the conduct of activities that would complicate or escalate disputes and affect peace and stability, avoid actions that may further complicate the situation and pursue peaceful resolution of disputes in accordance with the universally recognised principles of international law, including the 1982 UNCLOS,” wrote the statement.
The FMs underscored the importance of the full and effective implementation of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea (DOC) in its entirety and committed to working towards the early conclusion of an effective and substantive Code of Conduct in the East Sea (COC) that is in accordance with international law, including the 1982 UNCLOS.
They also reiterated the importance of peaceful dialogue that contributes constructively to the promotion of regional stability and cooperation in the maritime domain. Welcoming the recent holding of a maritime dialogue between China and the US in Beijing and the meeting between US President Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping on the margins of the APEC Leaders’ Meeting in California, they hoped that such dialogues will continue to further ASEAN’s efforts to strengthen stability and cooperation in the region’s maritime sphere.
This is the 5th time ASEAN has issued a statement on maritime issues since 1995, with the most recent statement on the East Sea released in 2014.- (VNA/VLLF)