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ULAANBAATAR, Mongolia – A key summit between Asian and European leaders in Mongolia ended on Saturday without direct mention of the South China Sea dispute in its closing statement, with diplomats describing intense discord over the issue between Europe and Asia.
China has refused to recognize Tuesday’s ruling by an arbitration court in The Hague invalidating its vast claims in the South China Sea and did not take part in the proceedings brought by the Philippines. It has reacted angrily to calls by Western countries and Japan for the decision to be adhered to. China had flagged ahead of the Ulaanbaatar get-together that it did not want the South China Sea to be discussed, saying it was not an appropriate venue.
The closing statement said leaders reaffirmed a commitment to promote maritime security, safety, and cooperation, freedom of navigation, and overflight and to refrain from using threatening force. (Reuters)