ASEAN members call for peaceful resolution of East Sea issues

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Seven of the ten ASEAN member nations have called for peaceful solutions to East Sea disputes at a United Nations meeting in New York last weekend, the Philippines Star reported Sunday.

At the 21st meeting of state parties to the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), Vietnam, the Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Laos, and Singapore also called for application of and adherence to the convention.

The Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC) signed between China and ASEAN in 2002 needs to be followed strictly to maintain peace and security in the region, the countries' representatives stressed.

"The rule of law is the bedrock of peace, order and fairness in modern societies. The rise of a rules-based international system has been the great equalizer in global affairs," the news source quoted a statement from the Philippine mission as saying.

Also at the international conference held June 13-17, ASEAN countries voiced their opposition to China's recent actions in the East Sea.

Vietnam's Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Le Luong Minh condemned China for continuously and deliberately disrupting seismic survey work of the state-owned Vietnam National Oil and Gas Group in Vietnam's territorial waters.

The Secretary-General of the Philippines Commission on Maritime and Ocean Affairs Secretariat, Henry Bensurto, said that his country rejected efforts "to broaden the concept of disputed areas in the West Philippine Sea or South China Sea to include even those waters and continental shelves that are clearly within the sovereignty and/or jurisdiction of the Philippines," the Philippines Star reported.

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Countries like the US, Japan and Australia have also called for peaceful, multilateral solutions to East Sea disputes.

At the fourth US-Vietnam dialogue on politics and national defense Friday in Washington D.C., the two countries agreed all the disputes need to be solved via diplomatic cooperation without the use of force or other pressure, local newspaper Saigon Tiep Thi reported Monday.

As a close partner of the Philippines in the oil and gas sector, Australia also said that related countries should seek peaceful solutions to the disputes and abide by international laws.

Meanwhile, during his meeting with Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono Friday in Tokyo, Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan called for the countries involved in East Sea disputes to solve them via talks in multilateral settings including countries like the US and Japan, the Mainichi Daily News reported.

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