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S. Korea urges easing of tensions in South China Sea

All Headlines 17:02 June 02, 2015

SEOUL, June 2 (Yonhap) -- South Korea Tuesday pushed for a peaceful resolution to growing tension in the South China Sea over China's construction of artificial islands in the contested waters.

In a statement, the Foreign Ministry said peace and stability in the area is important for South Korea as well.

"Protecting the freedom of navigation is indispensable for the stability and development of the Asia-Pacific region," ministry spokesman Noh Kwang-il said.

He added that the government hopes that the relevant countries will "fully and effectively" implement the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC), a 2002 deal between China and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

China has been dredging new islands apparently to bolster its territorial claim to the resource-rich waters.

Chinese officials said it is not targeting any other nations, however Vietnam and other Southeast Asian nations are infuriated.

U.S. President Barack Obama urged China to stop the project, calling it "counterproductive."

China called on the U.S. not to interfere with the matter.

lcd@yna.co.kr
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