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Southeast Asian Countries Warm to US-Proposed Freeze on South China Sea Land Reclamation

Southeast Asian Countries Warm to US-Proposed Freeze on South China Sea Land Reclamation

Ahead of the ASEAN Regional Forum summit this week, a number of Southeast Asian countries have called for a halt to land reclamation activities in the South China Sea, Reuters reports.

Malaysian Foreign Minister Anifah Aman (and this year’s ARF chairman) said that the ASEAN members agreed that “exercising self-restraint in the conduct of activities that would complicate or escalate tension must be enhanced.”

The 2002 Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea, an agreement between ASEAN and China, already saw all parties agree “to exercise self-restraint in the conduct of activities that would complicate or escalate disputes and affect peace and stability including, among others, refraining from action of inhabiting on the presently uninhabited islands, reefs, shoals, cays, and other features.” Construction activities are generally considered to fall under the vague rubric of “activities that would complicate or escalate disputes” and China, the Philippines, and Vietnam have all accused one another of violating the DoC through construction in the disputed area (which all have engaged in).

Source: Southeast Asian Countries Warm to US-Proposed Freeze on South China Sea Land Reclamation | The Diplomat