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ASEAN leaders likely to go soft on sea feud in Manila summit

/ 11:48 PM April 25, 2017
A worker waters the lawn of the Philippine International Convention Center, the venue for the April 26-29, 2017 30th ASEAN Leaders' Summit Tuesday, April 25, 2017 in suburban Pasay city south of Manila,Philippines. The Philippines is hosting the summit of 10-member ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) with the theme: Partnering for Change, Engaging the World." More than 40,000 police and troops are mobilized for the summit.(AP Photo/Bullit Marquez)

A worker waters the lawn of the Philippine International Convention Center, the venue for the April 26-29, 2017 30th ASEAN Leaders’ Summit Tuesday, April 25, 2017 in suburban Pasay city south of Manila,Philippines. The Philippines is hosting the summit of 10-member ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) with the theme: Partnering for Change, Engaging the World.” More than 40,000 police and troops are mobilized for the summit.(AP Photo/Bullit Marquez)

MANILA, Philippines – Southeast Asian leaders will express serious concern over territorial disputes in the South China Sea when they gather in an annual summit in Manila this week, but a draft of a communique to be issued at the end of the meeting indicates they will adopt subdued language on a conflict that has increasingly alarmed Asian and Western governments.

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, who has warmed once-frosty relations with China, hosts his counterparts in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations on Saturday. A draft of the “chairman’s statement” to be issued at the end of the summit obtained Tuesday by The Associated Press does not mention an arbitration decision last year that invalidated China’s claims to the strategic waterway.

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TAGS: ASEAN, President Rodrigo Duterte, South China Sea, territorial disputes
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