LANGKAWI, Malaysia — Southeast Asian leaders on Tuesday expressed “serious concerns” over China’s land reclamation activities in disputed areas of the South China Sea, which they said could undermine peace, security and stability in the region.
The stand was taken in the form of a “chairman’s statement” released by Malaysia one day after it hosted an annual summit of leaders from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.
It is a moral boost to the campaign by the Philippines and Vietnam for the 10-member grouping to take a stronger stand against China for allegedly violating the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea signed by China and ASEAN in 2002.
“We share the serious concerns expressed by some leaders on the land reclamation being undertaken in the South China Sea, which has eroded trust and confidence and may undermine peace, security and stability in the South China Sea,” the statement says.
“In this regard, we instructed our foreign ministers to urgently address this matter constructively including under the various ASEAN frameworks such as ASEAN-China relations as well as the principle of peaceful coexistence.”