Asean official seeks way to resolve sea disputes
KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia —The head of Southeast Asia’s main grouping says the region needs a legally binding agreement to ensure that a maritime dispute with China is resolved peacefully, because an existing declaration of amity has proved to be useless.
The 10 members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) and China signed the declaration, known by its acronym DOC, in 2002, promising in good faith to resolve their territorial and jurisdictional disputes by peaceful means, without “resorting to the threat or use of force.”
Asean Secretary-General Le Luong Minh told The Associated Press Friday that “the DOC has never been fully and effectively implemented and that’s why we need a new agreement which would be legally binding.”
He says such an agreement should be capable of not only preventing but also managing incidents such as “the ones that have been taking place.” He did not name China but was referring to Beijing’s recent land reclamation and the construction of artificial islands in the South China Sea.
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