Philippine seeks ASEAN backing for joint development of disputed South China Sea areas

The Philippines will seek ASEAN backing for a plan for joint development of areas of the South China Sea which are disputed by China and South East Asian neighbours.

Philippines foreign affairs spokesman Raul Hernandez told reporters the aim is for ASEAN's ten member nations and, later, China, to endorse the proposal to delineate the disputed sections.

"If we can define those disputed features then we can have  joint development of those areas," he said, adding that areas not in dispute should be the exclusive preserve of the country that owns them.

ASEAN legal experts will meet in Manila in September to discuss the proposal which, if supported, will be tabled for discussion by ASEAN's senior officials and eventually foreign ministers.

"We are hopeful that China would listen to the voice of the ASEAN, and even the voice of the international community," Mr Hernandez said.

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