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ASEAN ministers rock no boats in Myanmar, S. China Sea

January 18, 2019 GMT

CHIANG MAI, Thailand (AP) — Foreign ministers of the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations have hewed to the group’s practice of reaching the least provocative consensus possible in discussions of such divisive issues as Myanmar’s Rohingya crisis and China’s territorial claims in the South China Sea.

A two-day Foreign Ministers’ Retreat that ended Friday was the group’s first meeting since Thailand took its over annual chairmanship.

The host’s summary of the meeting emphasized the humanitarian role ASEAN members could play in Myanmar’s Rakhine State, from which more than 700,000 members of the Muslim Rohingya minority fled to escape a brutal government counterinsurgency campaign.

It claimed progress on concluding a Code of Conduct in the South China Sea, long touted as a way of avoiding volatile confrontations in the disputed territory.