All papers gave top or font-page play to a joint statement issued by ASEAN foreign ministers in Vientiane on July 25. The statement expressed the ASEAN nations’ serious concern over recent and ongoing developments in the South China Sea and their commitment to resolving regional disputes by respecting legal and diplomatic processes. However, the statement did not specifically refer to the July 12 ruling by the Permanent Court of Arbitration on China’s claims in the South China Sea. There was apparently a difference of opinion between nations such as the Philippines and Vietnam that welcomed the international court ruling and countries such as Cambodia that support China.
The papers wrote that China achieved success in its diplomatic efforts to win Cambodia and other nations over to its side. Asahi wrote that the ASEAN nations missed an opportunity to send a warning to China. Yomiuri wrote that Japan, the U.S., and other nations plan to renew their call on China to accept the court decision during an ASEAN Regional Forum meeting to be held in Vientiane today.
Foreign Minister Kishida urged his Chinese counterpart Wang to accept the court ruling during their bilateral talks on the sidelines of the ASEAN meeting on Monday by saying it is binding. However, Wang expressed strong displeasure by saying that Japan is not directly involved in the disputes in the South China Sea.