July 27, 2016 / 3:39 AM / 3 years ago

Kerry says satisfied by ASEAN statement supporting rule of law

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry attends a news conference at the sidelines of the ASEAN foreign ministers meeting in Vientiane, Laos July 26, 2016. REUTERS/Jorge Silva

MANILA (Reuters) - U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said on Wednesday he was very satisfied that Southeast Asian countries could issue a joint communique that championed the rule of law, and its omission of reference to an arbitration case on the South China Sea did not detract from its importance.

On a visit to Manila, Kerry said the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) issuing a statement was a success because it covered “every single value of the rule of law”.

Kerry said the ruling by the Permanent Court of Arbitration was legally binding, and not irrelevant.

Reporting by Lesley Wroughton; Writing by Martin Petty; Editing by Lincoln Feast

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