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South China Sea

Vietnam stresses South China Sea security issues at ASEAN meeting

Draft communique calls for joint work on COVID vaccine development and delivery

Images taken from video provided by VTV show Association of Southeast Asian Nations' foreign ministers remotely watching Vietnamese counterpart Pham Binh Minh, center, deliver a speech in Hanoi, Vietnam, during the opening of the ASEAN Foreign Ministers' Meeting on  Sept. 9.   © VTV/AP

SINGAPORE -- Security challenges in the South China Sea are "always present," Vietnam's foreign minister said Wednesday as the country hosts a four-day series of virtual ministerial meetings of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and its key partners including China and the U.S.

Speaking at an opening ceremony, Vietnamese Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh said that "factors threatening peace, stability, security, safety and freedom of navigation and aviation in the South China Sea" are among challenges the region faces, an apparent criticism against Beijing's increasing activities in the area.

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