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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs   5 April  2012

Asean to intensify efforts to resolve S China Sea dispute

5 April 2012
Asean leaders have stressed the need to intensify efforts to implement a 10-year-old declaration on the conduct of parties in the disputed South China Sea, the Asean body said yesterday.

China and Asean members Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines and Vietnam have competing territorial claims in the sea, a strategically located area with oil and gas reserves.

"We reaffirmed the importance of the declaration," said a chairman's statement issued at the end of a two-day summit in Phnom Penh. Signed by Asean and China in 2002, the declaration is a "milestone document...embodying the collective commitment to promoting peace, stability, and mutual trust in the South China Sea," the statement said.

At the same time, it is also aimed at "ensuring the peaceful resolution of disputes in this area in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations, and the universally recognised principles of international law, including the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) and to move for the eventual realisation of a regional code of conduct."

During their talks in Phnom Penh, the statement said Asean leaders "stressed the need to intensify efforts to ensure the effective and full implementation" of the declaration.

In addition, "we supported the convening of the Asean-China Joint Workshop to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the (declaration), in Cambodia, in the fourth quarter of 2012."

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