MANILA - US 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.
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