ASEAN and Australia call for “avoiding unilateral actions” that jeopardize peace in the South China Sea

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the Australian government asked countries in the region on Wednesday to “avoid unilateral actions” that “threaten peace” in the disputed waters of the South China Sea. After a summit held in the Australian city of Melbourne on the occasion of the fiftieth anniversary of the country's relations with the bloc, participants urged efforts to maintain security and stability in a region of great importance. They stated in a final statement in which they explained that the commitment within the Association of Southeast Asian Nations is “vital”: “We emphasize the need to maintain and strengthen the atmosphere stipulated in the Code of Conduct derived from the negotiations on the South China Sea.” For the region. Likewise, they stressed the importance of creating “conditions conducive to negotiations” in this regard, and reiterated that their goal was to achieve “an effective code consistent with international law, including the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.” And put an end to disputes. To this end, they stressed that “freedom of navigation and flight” must be preserved, while rejecting any militarization project. “We ask for restraint to avoid new incidents,” they said shortly after several Chinese and Filipino ships collided in disputed waters near the Ayungin Atoll, also known as Second Thomas. Accordingly, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), consisting of Burma, Brunei, Cambodia, the Philippines, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam, called for the use of “dialogue” to resolve disputes in accordance with the principles established by international law.

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