World

China welcomes softer South China Sea stance

BEIJING: China yesterday welcomed a softer stand taken by South-east Asian countries on the disputed South China Sea at a weekend summit, saying it showed efforts to ease tensions were working.

Asean dropped references to "land reclamation and militarisation" from its chairman's statement this year at the end of its summit in the Philippine capital of Manila.

China is not a member of the 10-member bloc and did not attend the summit, but it is sensitive about the content of Asean's statements.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said: "Since last year, with the joint efforts of China and Asean countries, including the Philippines, temperatures in the South China Sea situation have gone down and things have eased up.

"I think this accords with the interests of countries in the region." - REUTERS

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