Defense chiefs from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, along with the United States and China, held a meeting in Cambodia. They adopted a joint statement calling for normal maritime rules to be followed, apparently in light of tensions in the South China Sea.
US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and Chinese Defense Minister Wei Fenghe joined ASEAN members in Siem Reap.
They discussed issues related to the South China Sea, where China is increasing its naval activities. Vietnam and the Philippines have territorial disputes with China.
The Declaration reaffirms the importance of promoting peace, security, stability and freedom of navigation.
It also highlights a shared commitment to foster cohesion in adapting to geopolitical and geostrategic shifts. It appears to be a reference to rising tensions between Washington and Beijing over Taiwan.
The US and China are increasingly involved in the region. China’s defense minister met with Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen earlier this month, while US Vice President Kamala Harris visited the Philippine island of Palawan, which faces disputed waters.