20 - 9 - 2017 | 14:25
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Vietnam calls for Southeast Asian unity amid South China Sea tension

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Vietnam's most powerful leader has called for greater unity among Southeast Asian states at a time the country has appeared increasingly isolated in challenging China's territorial claims in the South China Sea.

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Making the first visit by a Vietnamese communist party chief to Indonesia, Nguyen Phu Trong said in a speech televised at home on Wednesday that the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) needed to be unified in resolving territorial disputes.

"Do not let ASEAN become a playing card for the competition among major countries," Trong said, without identifying which he meant.

Vietnam has emerged as the most vocal opponent of China's claims in the South China Sea, where more than US$3 trillion in cargo pass every year.

To China's annoyance, Vietnam held out an ASEAN meeting this month for language in a communique that noted concern about island-building and criticized militarization in the South China Sea.

Read more at Channel NewsAsia

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