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China, Southeast Asia to set up hotline for South China Sea issues

© Reuters. An aerial photo taken though a glass window of a Philippine military plane shows the alleged on-going land reclamation by China on mischief reef in the Spratly Islands

KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) - China and Southeast Asian nations have agreed to set up a foreign ministers' hotline to tackle emergencies in the disputed South China Sea, a senior official of the ASEAN grouping told Reuters on Friday.

China claims most of the potentially energy-rich sea, through which $5 trillion in ship-borne trade passes every year, and rejects the rival claims of Vietnam, the Philippines, Brunei, Malaysia and Taiwan.

With the region having become Asia's biggest potential military flashpoint, the United States has urged claimants to settle differences through talks, saying its Pacific Fleet aims to protect sea lanes critical to U.S...


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