Now, ASEAN opposes China's vast historical sea claims

Updated: Jun 28, 2020, 06:54 IST | Agencies | Manila

The leaders of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations took the position in a statement issued by Vietnam Saturday on behalf of the 10-nation bloc

Shiv Sena Dogra Front activists shout slogans during a protest against China over the killing of Indian Army soldiers in Galwan Valley. Pix/PTI
Shiv Sena Dogra Front activists shout slogans during a protest against China over the killing of Indian Army soldiers in Galwan Valley. Pix/PTI

Southeast Asian leaders said a 1982 UN oceans treaty should be the basis of sovereign rights and entitlements in the South China Sea, in one of their strongest remarks opposing China's claim to the entire disputed waters on historical grounds.

The leaders of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations took the position in a statement issued by Vietnam Saturday on behalf of the 10-nation bloc.

ASEAN leaders held their annual summit by video on Friday. "We reaffirmed that the 1982 UNCLOS is the basis for determining maritime entitlements, sovereign rights, jurisdiction and legitimate interests over maritime zones," the ASEAN statement said.

The leaders were referring to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, a 1982 international agreement that defines the rights of nations to the world's oceans and demarcates stretches of waters called exclusive economic zones where coastal states are given the right to exclusively tap fishery and fuel resources.

Meanwhile, the Congress on Saturday sharpened its attack on Prime Minister Narendra Modi over the India-China face-off, accusing him of giving inconsistent statements on the issue. It said the Chinese soldiers have occupied the 'Y' junction in Ladakh and are very close to Burtse town.

Former Union Minister and senior Congress leader Kapil Sibal said, "The Chinese are now using the same tactics with us. They have occupied the bottleneck 'Y' junction in Depsang plains, which is 18 km inside the Indian territory in Ladakh."

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