ASEAN Leaders Meet in Myanmar

Naypyidaw, May 11 (QNA) – Leaders of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations are holding a meeting in Myanmar amid mounting tension in the South China Sea following collisions between Chinese and Vietnamese vessels.

The summit of ten ASEAN member nations began in Myanmar’s capital, Naypyidaw, on Sunday morning.

The focus of the talks is how the leaders respond to the ongoing maritime standoffs in the South China Sea. Chinese and Vietnamese patrol boats have repeatedly collided in the area, Japan’s (NHK World) website reported.

On Saturday, ASEAN foreign ministers expressed serious concern about the standoffs in a statement at their meeting.

In effect censuring China, the ministers also called on all parties to territorial disputes to obey international law and resolve the rows by peaceful means.

The Chinese Foreign Ministry criticized the statement, saying the South China Sea issue is a bilateral matter between China and some countries and not a problem for all of ASEAN.

The Southeast Asian leaders are expected to discuss the maritime standoffs at their meeting.

With some countries taking a pro-Beijing stance, attention is focused on to what extent the leaders refer to China in a joint statement and whether they can come up with concrete measures to resolve the issue peacefully. (QNA)

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