The Association of Southeast Asian Nations’ (ASEAN) statement calling out China to resolve the South China Sea dispute in line with the international law was welcomed by the United States with US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo tweeting about it.
“The United States welcomes ASEAN Leaders’ insistence that South China Sea disputes be resolved in line with international law, including UNCLOS (United Nations Convention for the Law of the Sea). China cannot be allowed to treat the SCS as its maritime empire. We will have more to say on this topic soon,” Pompeo wrote on Twitter.
After the 36th ASEAN summit, a joint statement was issued by the members of ASEAN expressing concerns over the current situation in the South China Sea.
The bloc leaders stressed the importance of maintaining and promoting peace, security, stability, safety and freedom of navigation and over-flight above the South China Sea, as well as upholding international law, including the 1982 UNCLOS, in the South China Sea.
The statement also talked about working actively towards the full and effective implementation of the 2002 Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC) in its entirety, and the early conclusion of an effective and substantive Code of Conduct in the South China Sea (COC), consistent with international law.
They also laid emphasis on the “importance of non-militarization and self-restraint in the conduct of activities that would complicate or escalate disputes and affect peace and stability, and avoid actions that may further complicate the situation.”
“Pursue the peaceful resolution of disputes in accordance with universally recognised principles of international law, including the 1982 UNCLOS, while enhancing mutual trust and confidence,” the statement said.
Several islands and territories in the South China Sea are claimed by Beijing, but other countries including Indonesia, the Philippines and Brunei also have their territorial claim in the region.