The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) retracted on June 14 a statement voicing concern over rising tensions in the South China Sea, Quartz reported June 15. The original statement was also issued on June 14 and mentioned eroding confidence and rising tensions that could undermine peace, security and stability in the region. It went on to say ASEAN members emphasize the importance of non-militarization and restraint in the South China Sea, especially regarding actions that could lead to escalating tensions, including land reclamation projects. A Malaysian Ministry of Foreign Affairs representative later announced that ASEAN was retracting its statement, saying the group needed to make urgent amendments to the text. China claims much of the strategic and resource-rich area, using artificial islands to reinforce its claims. But several other countries -- including Vietnam, the Philippines, Brunei, Malaysia and Taiwan -- also have overlapping claims in the South China Sea. China's expansionist tactics have also triggered a standoff with the United States over the highly contested waterway.