`We discussed the situation in the South China Sea, expressing concern about land reclamation, recent developments, activities and serious incidents, which have eroded trust and increased tensions.`

The statement was made in the context of China’s continued provocative actions in the East Sea since the beginning of the year, as countries around the world focused their efforts on fighting Covid-19.

Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc chaired the press conference concluding HNCC 36 on the afternoon of June 26 in Hanoi.

China also recently announced vegetable cultivation on Phu Lam Island in Vietnam’s Hoang Sa archipelago to strengthen its illegal sovereignty claim, sending notes to the United Nations claiming Tu Sa, the area where violations were committed.

In yesterday’s Presidential Statement, ASEAN leaders affirmed that countries need to strengthen mutual trust, refrain from activities that complicate or escalate disputes, affect peace and stability, and avoid conflicts.

ASEAN reaffirms that UNCLOS is the basis for determining maritime entities, sovereign rights, jurisdiction and legitimate interests in maritime zones.

ASEAN is concerned about developments in the East Sea

Woody Island, belonging to Hoang Sa of Vietnam, is illegally occupied by China.

The Association also emphasized the importance of demilitarization and restraint in the activities of countries that could further complicate the situation and increase tensions in the East Sea, including those stated in the Declaration

`We emphasize the importance of maintaining and promoting a favorable environment for COC negotiations, welcoming practical measures that can help reduce tensions, reduce the risk of incidents, misunderstandings and miscalculations.`

In the press conference after HNCC 36 yesterday afternoon, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc said that ASEAN has proposed to soon restore negotiations on the Code of Conduct (COC).

ASEAN leaders affirmed the importance of the ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific (AOIP), adopted by ASEAN after HNCC 34 in June 2019.

ASEAN agreed to continue promoting the goals and principles of the AOIP, as well as encourage external partners to support and cooperate with the Association in key areas.

In the Presidential Statement on June 26, ASEAN leaders also expressed their desire to resume holding a special Summit with the US to celebrate the 15th anniversary of bilateral relations in 2020. This event is expected to take place.

ASEAN affirms its commitment to prevent and respond to drought in the region, looking forward to the Association’s Declaration on building drought response capacity and the region’s action plan.