The diplomat tweeted “The United States welcomes ASEAN Leaders’ insistence that South China Sea disputes be resolved in line with international law, including UNCLOS. China cannot be allowed to treat the SCS as its maritime empire. We will have more to say on this topic soon.”

The South China Sea is known in Vietnam as the East Sea.

He also included a link to the ASEAN Leaders' Vision Statement on a Cohesive and Responsive ASEAN: Rising above Challenges and Sustaining Growth.

The 36th ASEAN Summit was held via video conferencing on June 26 under the chair of Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc. Vietnam is the Chair of ASEAN in 2020.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo

ASEAN leaders affirmed the importance of maintaining and promoting peace, security, stability, safety and freedom of navigation and aviation in the East Sea.

They also emphasized the need to fully and effectively implement the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in East Sea (DOC) and soon build a Code of Conduct in the East Sea (COC) in line with international law, including the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).

The bloc’s leaders expressed concerns over land reclamations, recent developments, activities and serious incidents, 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 that would complicate or escalate disputes and affect peace and stability and avoid actions that may further complicate the situation, and pursue peaceful resolution of disputes in accordance with universally recognized principles of international law, including the 1982 UNCLOS.

They also emphasized the importance of non-militarization and self-restraint in the conduct of all activities by claimants and all other states that could further complicate the situation and escalate tensions in the East Sea.

Founded in 1967, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) groups 10 member countries, namely Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.

Source: VNA