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ASEAN foreign ministers urge restraint as Taiwan tension boils

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ASEAN foreign ministers cross arms and hold hands for a photo at the opening ceremony of the 55th ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting in Phnom Penh on August 3. Hong Menea

ASEAN foreign ministers urge restraint as Taiwan tension boils

Amid rising tension spurred by the August 2 visit of US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to Taiwan, much to China’s dismay and consternation, ASEAN foreign ministers are calling on all parties to exercise the utmost restraint, refrain from provocative action and uphold the principles enshrined in the UN Charter as well as the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia (TAC).

In a press statement released late on August 3, the top ASEAN diplomats, who are gathering in Phnom Penh for the 55th ASEAN Foreign Ministers' Meeting (AMM) and related meetings, reiterated that the bloc’s member states support the One-China policy.

“The world is in dire need of wisdom and responsibility of all leaders to uphold multilateralism and partnership, cooperation, peaceful-coexistence and healthy competition for our shared goals of peace, stability, security and inclusive and sustainable development,” the statement said.

Without naming Taiwan directly, the foreign minister said “the recent development in the area adjacent to the ASEAN region could lead to miscalculation, serious confrontation, open conflicts and unpredictable consequences among major powers”.

“We should act together and ASEAN stands ready to play a constructive role in facilitating peaceful dialogue between all parties including through utilising ASEAN-led mechanisms to de-escalate tension [and] to safeguard peace, security and development in our region,” it added.

Speaking at a morning press briefing on the 55th AMM on August 4, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation secretary of state Kung Phoak said ASEAN foreign ministers hope de-escalation will happen and tensions will be gone as soon as possible over the Taiwan Strait.

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