EAS leaders reaffirm importance of keeping peace, stability in East Sea hinh anh 1Leaders of ASEAN countries and dialogue partners pose for a photo at the 12th East Asia Summit in Manila, the Philippines (Photo: AFP/VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) – Leaders of the 10 ASEAN member states and partner countries have reaffirmed the importance of maintaining peace, stability and security in the East Sea, internationally known as South China Sea, while attending the recent 12th East Asia Summit (EAS) in Manila, the Philippines.

According to the EAS Chairman’s statement released on November 21, the EAS leaders “are encouraged by the adoption of the framework of the Code of Conduct for the South China Sea (COC), which will facilitate the work and negotiation for the conclusion of a substantive and effective COC.”

They welcomed the announcement of the start of substantive negotiations on the COC between ASEAN and China at the 20th ASEAN-China Summit and the subsequent convening of the 23rd ASEAN-China Joint Working Group Meeting on the Implementation of the DOC in Vietnam in early 2018.

The statement notes that the EAS leaders “reaffirmed the importance of the peaceful resolution of disputes and the maintenance of peace, stability, security and freedom of navigation in and over-flight in the South China Sea.”

The Philippines, Chair of the 12th EAS, released the statement one week after the summit in Manila on November 14.

Robespierre Bolivar, acting spokesperson of the Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs, said that the delay in the statement release was caused by late submissions of "additional comments" by EAS participating countries.

The EAS is an annual summit between leaders of the 10 ASEAN countries and eight dialogue partners, namely Australia, China, India, Japan, New Zealand, Russia, the Republic of Korea, and the US.

The 12th EAS was part of the 31st ASEAN Summit and related meetings that took place in Manila, the Philippines, from November 12 to 14.-VNA