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Unilateral actions during the past weeks in the South China Sea have resulted in mounting tensions and a deterioration of the maritime security environment which represents a serious threat to the peaceful economic development of the region.
It is crucial for all parties in the region to exercise self-restraint, take concrete steps towards reverting to the status quo ante, refrain from militarising the region and resolve disputes through peaceful means in accordance with international law, notably the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). The parties could also seek third party assistance in the form of mediation or arbitration to facilitate the settlement of their respective claims, if deemed useful.
The EU will continue to fully support regional ASEAN-led processes, in order to further promote a rules-based regional and international order, to consolidate multilateral cooperation, as well as closer cooperation with third parties. We are looking forward to a swift conclusion, in a transparent manner, of the talks on an effective, substantive and legally binding 'Code of Conduct'.
The EU is committed to the legal order for the seas and oceans based upon international law, maritime security and cooperation, as well as the freedom of navigation and overflight, in the interest of all states.