Regional leaders at the Asean summit in Vientiane, Laos [Reuters]
Relatively minor achievement underscores difficulty in resolving competing territorial claims in the area
VIENTIANE, Laos—China and Southeast Asian nations Wednesday agreed to create a telephone hotline as a fresh step to help avoid accidental military clashes in the South China Sea.
This relatively minor achievement, however, underscored the continuing difficulty in resolving the competing territorial claims in the area, which includes some of the world’s busiest shipping lanes.
The accord, formally reached at an annual gathering including leaders from Asia and the U.S., didn’t touch on an international arbitration ruling at The Hague in July that rejected Beijing’s claims to historic and economic rights in the disputed sea. China has said it doesn’t recognize the arbitration case first filed by the Philippines in 2013.
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WNU Editor: This agreement is long overdue.