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Iran urges China, Philippines to show restraint on sea dispute


Iran has stressed the importance of rapport and good neighborliness in relations between China and the Philippines, urging the two Asian countries to exercise self-restraint over their territorial dispute in the South China Sea.

“The Islamic Republic of Iran supports the policy of amicability and good neighborliness among the South China Sea neighboring states and invites the two sides to show self-restraint,” Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman, Bahram Qasemi, said on Monday.

He expressed hope that the territorial disputes “would be settled through peaceful means, negotiations and talks.”

On Monday, Southeast Asia nations refused to fulfill a demand by the Philippines to mention a recent ruling on the South China Sea dispute in their final statement.

The request had pushed the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) into deadlock over the past few days but the Philippines finally had to drop it amid opposition from some members.

Last month, a tribunal in The Hague ruled in favor of Manila, dismissing as illegal Beijing’s claims in the South China Sea that channels more than $5 trillion in global trade each year.

The Philippines and Vietnam both wanted the ruling to feature in the ASEAN communique which threw the regional block’s weekend meeting in the Laos capital of Vientiane into disarray.

After hectic negotiations, the members issued a watered-down rebuke, which did not mention China by name.

In their communique, the ASEAN nations only said they “remain seriously concerned over recent and ongoing developments” in the South China Sea.

Beijing claims almost all of the South China Sea, which is also claimed in part by Taiwan, Brunei, Vietnam, Malaysia and the Philippines. The contested waters are believed to be rich in oil and gas.

The sea has so far become a source of tension between China, the US, and some other regional countries, which seek control of trade routes and mineral deposits there.

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