Duterte expresses his concerns over South China Sea row in virtual ASEAN meeting

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President Rodrigo Duterte on Friday reminded all parties involved in the South China Sea clash to “abide by” international laws to avoid “escalating tension” amid the coronavirus crisis.

“Even as the region struggles to contain COVID-19, alarming incidents in South China Sea occurred,” Duterte said in his video message at the 36th Association of Southeast Asian Nations Summit on Friday.

Duterte, who has been friendly to the Chinese government, did add specific details. Instead, he called on all parties to “adhere to the rule of law and to their commitments to international instruments, including the 2002 Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea.”

China has so far put up two research stations and sank a Vietnamese fishing boat in the South China Sea amid the pandemic.

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