China, ASEAN agree to avoid provocations in South China Sea

FILE PHOTO: Chinese structures are pictured in disputed South China Sea

(Reuters) - Foreign ministers of Southeast Asia and China agreed during a meeting to exercise restraint in the South China Sea and avoid actions that could escalate tensions, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) said on Tuesday.

The ASEAN statement referred to a meeting on Monday in China of the ministers, and comes after separate diplomatic protests in recent weeks made by Malaysia and the Philippines over the conduct of China's military and fishing fleet.

(Reporting by Reuters Staff; Writing by Martin Petty)