The United States urged both nations to exercise "maximum restraint." State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley called on the neighbors to "take all necessary steps to reduce tensions and avoid further conflict." The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) warned that the fighting threatens the economic recovery of the region. "The situation has escalated into open conflict. And that will definitely affect our economic development, confidence in our region, and tourism and prospects for foreign investment, which have just been picking up in light of the world economic recovery," former Thai foreign minister Surin Pitsuwan said in a statement.
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