ASEAN says seriously concerned about rising South China Sea tensions

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The artificial island at the southern end of Mischief Reef showing a newly-built seawall on its north side and a completed dock are shown in this Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative January 8, 2016 satellite image released to Reuters on January 15, 2016. REUTERS/CSIS Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative/Digital Globe/Handout via Reuters/Files
The artificial island at the southern end of Mischief Reef showing a newly-built seawall on its north side and a completed dock are shown in this Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative January 8, 2016 satellite image…

Southeast Asian nations expressed serious concern on Saturday about growing international tension over disputed waters in the South China Sea.

China claims most of the sea but Southeast Asian countries Malaysia, the Philippines, Brunei and Vietnam have rival claims. Friction has increased over China’s recent deployment of missiles and fighter jets to the disputed Paracel island chain.

“Ministers remained seriously concerned over recent and ongoing developments,” the 10-members Association of Southeast Asian Countries (ASEAN) said in a statement after a regular meeting of the group’s foreign ministers in Laos.

Land reclamation and escalating activity has increased tensions and could undermine peace, security and stability in the region, ASEAN said in the statement.

The United States has criticized China’s building of artificial islands and facilities in the sea and has sailed warships close to disputed territory to assert the right to freedom of navigation.

http://www.reuters.com/article/southchinasea-asean-idUSKCN0W00DN

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