ASEAN fires warning shot across China's bow
By Martin Abbugao , AFP
May 13, 2014, 12:13 am TWN
NAYPYIDAW, Myanmar--Southeast Asian leaders have expressed "serious concern" over worsening territorial disputes in the South China Sea, presenting a rare united front against an increasingly assertive Beijing.
Vietnam and the Philippines led a successful push for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations to deliver a thinly veiled rebuke to China over the standoff in waters home to key shipping lanes and thought to contain huge energy reserves.
But a defiant Beijing said Hanoi's efforts to enlist the support of its neighbors in the row were "doomed to fail."
The 10-nation ASEAN, in a statement released on Monday after a summit on Sunday, called for a peaceful resolution to the maritime rows, which flared up this month after China moved an oil drilling rig into waters also claimed by Hanoi.
"We expressed serious concerns over the ongoing developments in the South China Sea," said the joint statement from the summit in Myanmar, without explicitly pointing the finger at Beijing.
ASEAN called on all parties involved to "exercise self-restraint, not to resort to threat(s) or use of force, and to resolve disputes by peaceful means in accordance with the universally recognized principles of international law."
Observers said the statement marked a change of tone by the regional bloc, many of whose members -- including