ASEAN expected to express concern over S.China Sea


Foreign ministers from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations are expected to express concern about Chinese activity in the South China Sea, in a joint statement to be issued at their upcoming meeting in Thailand.

The foreign ministers from the 10 ASEAN member nations will meet at a series of events in Bangkok starting at the end of July.

NHK has obtained a draft of their joint statement for the meeting.

It expresses concern about land reclamations and other activities that could threaten peace and stability in the South China Sea. China is increasing its military presence in the region.

The United States has disclosed that China test-fired missiles from the mainland into the disputed waters earlier this month. In June, a Philippine boat sank after being struck by a Chinese fishing vessel.

The draft statement stresses the need for each country to show restraint to prevent tensions from escalating.

It also touches on the active role ASEAN must play in the Indo-Pacific region, including Southeast Asia, as outlined in the vision adopted at the group’s summit meeting in June. That vision calls for ASEAN to take a leading role in bringing peace and prosperity to the region through economic and maritime cooperation with other countries.

ASEAN apparently hopes to increase its presence amid escalating US-China confrontations in the region.