U.S. destroyer challenges China's claims in South China Sea

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Cayetano said the Philippines renounced the inclusion of the words "land reclamations" and "non-militarization" of China in the disputed waters, as stated in the joint communique released by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). After their meeting, they issued a joint statement that blasted aggressive actions in the contested offshore territories - without, of course, naming Beijing directly, in line with diplomatic practice.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said the most substantial progress made was that, with the joint efforts of China and Asean, the situation in the South China Sea has been stabilized.

Deputy FM Nguyen Quoc Dung noted that together with many other countries, Vietnam raised concerns regarding the situation in the East Sea, including the activities of reclamation, construction and militarization, while calling for maintaining principles and the stance regarding the East Sea, already specified in ASEAN documents, as well as agreed upon by ASEAN and its partners, especially the peaceful settlement of disputes, without the use or threat to use force, while respecting worldwide law, the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea and diplomatic and legal process.

In June, China cancelled a military gathering between the two countries, possibly over South China Sea disputes. But even this future Code of Conduct, China insists, must not be legally binding. China wants otherwise and opposes mention of the contentious issues, including arbitration and a conflict-resolution arrangement, given its preference to solve the conflicts through one-on-one negotiation with its smaller rival claimants.

If and when they ever get started, negotiations under the new framework will face a number of thorny issues, including whether the code should be legally binding.

"The Duterte government and DFA Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano have not only completely relinquished the Philippines' lead role in Asean of countering China's ambition of regional domination".

We congratulate ASEAN on its 50th anniversary and look forward to continuing our partnership and friendship with the people and governments of Southeast Asia and the ASEAN Secretariat to advance peace, stability, and prosperity for all. But first, he said, in a shot at the United States, the situation has to be stable and free of "major disruption from outside parties".

"It's an insult to the global community as a whole, and it's a threat to peace and stability of the region".

Foreign Minister Prak Sokhonn has reaffirmed Cambodia's stance of taking no sides in territorial disputes in the South China Sea.

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