Southeast Asian nations avoided rebuking Beijing or mentioning a recent UN-backed tribunal ruling against its claims in the South China Sea in a statement issued Monday that will be seen as a victory for the regional giant. The 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) instead repeated it was "seriously concerned" by "land reclamations and escalation of activities" and merely called for self-restraint in the strategic waterway. Diplomats gathered for a summit in the Laos capital spent days wrangling over how to respond to this month's ruling by a Hague-based tribunal which delivered a hammer blow to most of China's historical claims over the region.
EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said on Monday there was no deadline for Britain to start talks on leaving the European Union. New British Prime Minister Theresa May told Juncker earlier this month that Britain hoped to hold positive talks with the European Union after the June 23 referendum to leave the bloc, but needed time to prepare for the negotiations. Juncker told France 2 television there was no deadline, since article 50 of the EU treaty, which specifies the exit procedures, can only be activated by Britain.