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MANILA, Philippines – The U.S., Australian and Japanese foreign ministers have called for a halt on land reclamations and military actions in the South China Sea and compliance with an arbitration ruling that invalidated China's vast claims to the disputed waters.
U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop and Japan's new top diplomat, Taro Kono, also called on their Southeast Asian counterparts Monday to rapidly negotiate a legally binding maritime code with China aimed at preventing an escalation of conflicts in one of the world's busiest waterways.
Their remarks, which are aimed at taming aggression in the disputed sea, are considerably stronger than a joint statement of concern issued by their counterparts in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, a 10-nation bloc whose economies depend heavily on China.