Jakarta (ANTARA) - Malaysian Foreign Minister Zambry Abdul Kadir has called on the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to unite in order to maintain peace and stability in the South China Sea.

He affirmed that ASEAN should demonstrate its strong commitment to resolving maritime disputes that are plaguing the waters.

“We should reaffirm our commitment. We should bring everyone together to show that we are united,” Kadir told journalists after a meeting on the occasion of the 56th ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting (AMM) in Jakarta on Tuesday.

He noted that the issue was discussed at the Ministerial Meeting of the Coordination Bureau of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) in Baku, Azerbaijan, on July 5, 2023.

The minister stated that Malaysia aimed to persuade the movement to participate in the efforts to maintain stability at sea.

However, NAM rejected ASEAN’s proposals concerning the South China Sea in the final meeting document, following objections conveyed by several countries that consider themselves unrelated to the South China Sea, he added.

“It seems that ASEAN’s efforts have not been considered by NAM. I believe that ASEAN has lost its relevance in NAM, and vice versa,” Kadir stated.

Several countries have been involved in the struggle for territorial sovereignty over the South China Sea, which is believed to have abundant energy resources.

China claims sovereignty over the majority of the waters based on a nine-dash line that stretches over 1,500 kilometers from its land.

However, in 2016, the Permanent Court of Arbitration invalidated the claim, stating that it lacked a legal basis.

Claims of sovereignty over parts of the sea have also been made by Brunei Darussalam, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Vietnam.

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Translator: Shofi Ayudiana, Tegar Nurfitra
Editor: Anton Santoso
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