Chinese FM meets 4 ASEAN counterparts

China's foreign minister has been holding a flurry of meetings with his counterparts from four ASEAN nations as maritime disputes in the South China Sea and the coup in Myanmar loom large.

Wang Yi has been holding talks separately with the foreign ministers of Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines since Wednesday.

In a statement issued by China's Foreign Ministry, Wang said his country hopes the Association of Southeast Asian Nations will play a key role in promoting stability in Myanmar. He said Beijing supports the bloc's principle of noninterference in the internal affairs of member countries.

Observers say Beijing aims to prevent ASEAN from adopting a unified stance against China's claims to virtually the entire South China Sea.

China is also seen to be trying to fend off pressure from the United States and the European Union over Myanmar and the human rights situation affecting Uighurs.

Global Times, a paper affiliated with the Communist Party, ran a commentary quoting Chinese experts who said China and ASEAN are "standing together."