Southeast Asian countries on Tuesday backed a U.S. call to halt land reclamation in the South China Sea, underlining unease in the region over Beijing’s continued expansion on disputed islands.
China has said it does not want the issue raised at this week’s meeting of foreign ministers from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in Kuala Lumpur.
But Malaysia Foreign Minister Anifah Aman said member nations agreed that “exercising self-restraint in the conduct of activities that would complicate or escalate tension must be enhanced” in the South China Sea.
Philippines Foreign Minister Albert Del Rosario accused China of carrying out “massive reclamation activities” in the disputed waters.
“We see no let up on the unilateral and aggressive activities of our northern neighbor in the South China Sea,” he said at a meeting in the Malaysian capital.
“The massive reclamation activities … have undermined peace, security and stability in the South China Sea,” he said, urging Southeast Asian countries to address the issue with China. Read more