The Daily Manila Shimbun


Draft ASEAN communique has no mention of sea ruling

April 26, 2017

Some leaders of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations will convey “serious concerns” over “escalation of activities in the South China Sea” but will not mention the July 12 ruling of the arbitral tribunal which invalidated China’s sweeping claims on the area based on the nine-dash line, This was in a draft communiqué Tuesday where concerns raised by some ASEAN leaders in China’s reported land reclamations in disputed areas were not echoed. “We shared the serious concerns expressed by some leaders over recent developments and escalation of activities in the area which may further raise tensions and erode trust and confidence in the region,” the draft communique said. “We reaffirmed the importance of enhancing mutual trust and confidence, exercising self-restraint in the conduct of activities, avoiding actions that may further complicate the situation, and pursuing peaceful resolution of disputes, including through full respect for legal and diplomatic processes, without resorting to the threat of use of force, in accordance with the universally recognized principles of international law, including the 1982 United nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS),” it added. Senior ASEAN diplomats will meet starting Wednesday to finalize wordings of the statement. ASEAN leaders, the draft said, will reaffirm “the importance of freedom of navigation in and over-flight over the South China Sea.” The regional bloc’s ten leaders will stress “the importance of the full and effective implementation of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC) in its entirety.” DMS