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China News: ASEAN Leadership Summit Took a Stand on the South China Sea Issue

China News recently reported that Hong Lei, the Spokesperson for the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, held a press conference in which he commented on the position the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) took at its 26th Leadership Summit. ASEAN expressed its deep concern about China’s land reclamation activities, which may “undermine peace, security, and stability in the South China Sea.” The Summit Statement also “reaffirmed the importance of maintaining peace, stability, security, and freedom of navigation both in the South China Sea” and in flights over it as well. The Statement urged the speedy conclusion of a Code of Conduct in the South China Sea. Hong said China is “gravely concerned” about ASEAN’s position and rejected ASEAN’s authority over this issue. Hong stated that the South China Sea issues are not issues between China and ASEAN. Instead, China has been directly working with the involved countries to resolve conflicts through bilateral negotiations. Hong called the Summit Statement an example of “a few countries’ taking the entire ASEAN hostage.”

Source: China News, April 28, 2015