According to a statement released on August 6, the ministers took note of some concerns on the land reclaimation and activities in the area, which have eroded trust and confidence, increased tensions and may undermine peace, security and stability in the region.

They reaffirmed the need to enhance mutual trust and confidence, exercise self-restraint in the conduct of activities and avoid actions that may further complicate the situation, and pursue peaceful resolution of disputes in accordance with international law.

At the event

The ministers took note of the agreement between the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and China on a single draft negotiating text for an envisaged code of conduct in the East Sea and emphasized the need to maintain an environment conducive to negotiations on the code.

The ministers, including those of Japan and the US, also called on the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) to abandon its nuclear weapons in line with leader Kim Jong Un's commitment to complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.

At the 27-member ARF, they urged the DPRK "to fulfill its stated commitment to complete denuclearization and its pledge to refrain from further nuclear and missile tests."

Even though the meeting ended on August 4, the chairman's statement was only released on August 6 by the Foreign Ministry of Singapore which is currently holding the chairmanship of the 10-member ASEAN. The delay was just to seek everyone's views, said a source.

The ministers welcomed the two inter-Korean summits held in April and May and the summit between the DPRK and the US held in June, as well as the joint statements issued at those meetings.

They "urged all concerned parties to continue working towards the realization of lasting peace and stability on a denuclearized Korean Peninsula, including through the full and expeditious implementation" of those recent statements.

The ARF comprises the 10 ASEAN states – Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam – plus China, Japan, the US, Russia, the DPRK, the Republic of Korea, India, Pakistan, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, the European Union, Papua New Guinea, Bangladesh, East Timor, Mongolia and Sri Lanka.

Source: VNA