Foreign ministers of the 10-member ASEAN bloc held tense talks on contested waters in the South China Sea, which has important shipping lanes, and is believed to be rich in oil and gas reserves. ASEAN comprises Cambodia, Vietnam, Thailand, Laos, Myanmar, the Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore and Brunei Darussalam. China and Taiwan, along with ASEAN member states Vietnam, Malaysia, the Philippines and Brunei, all claim territory in the area, which has become the scene of rising tensions in recent months. Unprecedented in ASEAN’s history The Philippines said in a statement on Friday that the non-issuance of a joint communiqué was “unprecedented” in ASEAN’s 45-year history. It said that during a special morning meeting, several ASEAN states and the ASEAN Secretariat supported the Philippine’s view that discussions on the Scarborough Shoal – the site of a recent standoff between China and the Philippines – should be mentioned in the communiqué. “… the Chair (Cambodia) has consistently opposed any mention of the Scarborough Shoal … in the Joint Communiqué and today announced that a Joint Communiqué cannot be issued,” the statement read. The Philippines’ Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario said at meetings on Thursday – attended by visiting US Secretary of State… Read full this story
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