14/05/2014 11:34 GMT+7 Email Print Like 0

Singapore PM: ASEAN must have view on East Sea

Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong told reporters on May 11 that ASEAN must have a view because the security and stability of the region depend on what happens in the East Sea.

According to Singapore media, PM Lee commended the foreign ministers of the 10 ASEAN member states for issuing a joint statement on May 10 that called for the involved parties to exercise self-restraint and settle disputes through peaceful means.

With regards to China ’s statement that the East Sea issue is not a problem between China and ASEAN, he said this has always been China ’s stand as it sees the disputes as a bilateral issue with the respective countries.

The PM was quoted by the Singapore media as saying that ASEAN has to take an overall view on the disputes “because it is happening on our doorstep”.

“That is why the ASEAN foreign ministers put out a statement, and that is Singapore 's consistent, long-held and long-expressed position also,” he added.

On how realistic it would be for China to want to conclude a code of conduct in the East Sea, talks for which started three years ago, Lee said “China has agreed to start talking about it, so that is the first step.”

Earlier, on May 10, speaking to the media on the sidelines of the 24th ASEAN Summit in Myanmar, Singapore’s Foreign Affairs Minister K Shanmugam said there should be peace and no mishaps for the benefit of the entire region, stressing the urgency for adopting the COC.