ASEAN will hold negotiations with China on East Sea issues, ASEAN Secretary General Le Luong Minh has affirmed.

Answering reporters’ queries on the sidelines of the 22nd ASEAN Summit, which took place in Brunei from April 24-25, Minh stressed that the East Sea is an important shipping lane for the region and the world, so maritime security should be protected.

"ASEAN is open and willing to engage with China on this issue; we've done so already at the 19th ASEAN-China Senior Officials' Consultation. We've also agreed with the Chinese side to hold a ministerial level meeting later this year," he added.

For his part, ASEAN Chairman, Brunei Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah expressed his optimism for the progress reached between 10 ASEAN members in preparation for the talks with China, which he hopes will bring a bright future to East Sea issues.

Earlier, in the Chairman’s Statement, ASEAN leaders reiterated the importance of peace, stability and maritime security in the East Sea and joint commitments within the framework of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea (DOC) to ensure disputes are settled peacefully in accordance with international law, including the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea.

They also expressed their desire to continue to engage with China in implementing the DOC in a "full and effective manner".

ASEAN leaders showed their determination to strengthen cooperation in regional security issues, and stressed the importance of establishing the ASEAN Political-Security Community.

They also called for more efforts to prevent terrorism and trans-national crime, fight against non-traditional challenges, human trafficking and the clearance of unexploded ordnance.-VNA