News / Asia

Asian Nations Meet on Island Disputes

Philippine Vice President Jejomar Binay, 7th from left, joins hands with Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) officials at the opening of the 3rd ASEAN Maritime Forum in Manila, Philippines, Oct. 3, 2012.
Philippine Vice President Jejomar Binay, 7th from left, joins hands with Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) officials at the opening of the 3rd ASEAN Maritime Forum in Manila, Philippines, Oct. 3, 2012.
Simone Orendain
Delegates with the 10 Association of Southeast Asian Nations, a handful of East Asian countries and other Western powers skirted controversy over the heated issue of conflicting claims in Asia-Pacific waters during a meeting this week in the Philippines.
 
Diplomats joined security experts, maritime officials and others to discuss regional cooperation, the protection of marine resources and trade routes at a time when there has been growing tension over territorial disputes throughout the region.
 
In the past year, claims in the South China Sea have come to the fore with Vietnam and the Philippines leading the push with complaints against China. And more recently, the flare-up between China and Japan over tiny outcroppings in the East China Sea has continued.
 
When Japan’s deputy foreign minister addressed the forum in Manila, Tsuruoka Koji made the case for creating more specific rules to deal with disputes in international waters -- apart from the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).
 
“More effort should be made to establish maritime order and rules depending on characteristics of each region in accordance with relevant international laws including UNCLOS," Tsuruoka said. "Of course, these efforts must be made through peaceful talks. We should firmly deny any idea justifying ‘might is right.’”

 
The dispute in the East China Sea started when Japan bought what it calls the Senkaku Islands from a private Japanese owner. China, which calls the islands Diaoyu has claimed the islands as its own. The rocks are surrounded by waters abundant in fish and potentially rich mineral deposits. The dispute has brought violent protests in China and stirred up historical resentments.
 
Sam Bateman, an analyst with the Australian National Center for Ocean Resources & Security, says the dispute in the East China Sea is now the main worry in the region.
 
"The situation over the Senkaku/Diaoyu islands is potentially more serious, because you've got bilateral, you've got two big countries, sort of sabre-rattling at each other," Bateman explained. "I think the situation in South China Sea, given the relationship between China and ASEAN, economic relations, etcetera, I don't see it breaking out into the sort of conflict which you fear."
 
The disputes in the South China Sea surround mainly the Spratly Islands, which are being claimed in part or entirely by China, Vietnam, the Philippines, Taiwan, Malaysia and Brunei. These waters straddle some of the world’s most heavily traveled sea lanes. They are also rich in fishing and hold potentially vast oil and gas reserves.
 
In these disputes, China has preferred to deal with each claimant one on one. But some of the claimants including the Philippines have pushed for multilateral talks and turning to UNCLOS to settle its disputes.
 
Delegates from Japan, China, South Korea, India, the U.S., Australia, New Zealand and Russia attended the meeting. Apart from the Japan-China dispute, South Korea is in an island dispute with Japan.
 
Vietnam Deputy Foreign Minister Pham Quang Vinh said all participants have acknowledged the territorial disputes.
 
“And we stressed together the need for ensuring an environment of peace, stability and maritime security, including; the parties need to abide by international law and UNCLOS and show restraint so as not to allow the territorial disputes to become conflicts,” he said.
 
Vinh said the general feeling of the session was the need to find areas for cooperation and address “challenges” which include the disputes.
 
The U.S. delegate to the meeting told reporters the group had in-depth discussions on freedom of navigation, lawful commerce and lawful exploitation of resources.
 
Japan proposed the regional discussion last year, long before its territorial dispute with China erupted.

You May Like

Photogallery Pistorius Sentenced, Taken to Prison

Pistorius, convicted of culpable homicide in shooting death of girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, will likely serve about 10 months of five-year sentence, before completing it under house arrest More

UN to Aid Central Africa in Polio Vaccinations

Synchronized vaccinations will be conducted after Cameroon reports a fifth case of the wild polio virus in its territory More

WHO: Ebola Vaccine May Be in Use by Jan.

WHO assistant director Dr. Marie Paule Kieny says clinical trials of Ebola vaccines are underway or planned in Europe, US and Africa More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rulesi
X
October 21, 2014 12:20 AM
European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.
Video

Video Young Nairobi Tech Innovator on 'Track' in Security Business

A 24-year-old technology innovator in Nairobi has invented a tracking device that monitors and secures cars. He has also come up with what he claims is the most robust audio-visual surveillance system yet. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from the Kenyan capital, his innovations are offering alternative security solutions.
Video

Video Latinas Converting to Islam for Identity, Structure

Latinos are one of the fastest growing groups in the Muslim religion. According to the Pew Research Center, about 6 percent of American Muslims are Latino. And a little more than half of new converts are female. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti travelled to Miami, Florida -- where two out of every three residents is Hispanic -- to learn more.
Video

Video Exclusive: American Joins Kurds' Anti-IS Fight

The United States and other Western nations have expressed alarm about their citizens joining Islamic State forces in Syria and Iraq. In a rare counterpoint to the phenomenon, an American has taken up arms with the militants' Syrian Kurdish opponents. Elizabeth Arrott has more in this exclusive profile by VOA Kurdish reporter Zana Omer in Ras al Ayn, Syria.
Video

Video South Korea Confronts Violence Within Military Ranks

Every able-bodied South Korean male between 18 and 35 must serve for 21 to 36 months in the country’s armed forces, depending upon the specific branch. For many, service is a rite of passage to manhood. But there are growing concerns that bullying and violence come along with the tradition. Reporter Jason Strother has more from Seoul.
Video

Video North Carolina Emerges as Key Election Battleground

U.S. congressional midterm elections will be held on November 4th and most political analysts give Republicans an excellent chance to win a majority in the U.S. Senate, which Democrats now control. So what are the issues driving voters in this congressional election year? VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone traveled to North Carolina, one of the most politically competitive states in the country, to find out.
Video

Video Comanche People Maintain Pride in Their Heritage

The Comanche (Indian nation) once were called the “Lords of the Plains,” with an empire that included half the land area of current day Texas, large parts of Oklahoma, New Mexico, Kansas and Colorado.The fierceness and battle prowess of these warriors on horseback delayed the settlement of most of West Texas for four decades. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Lawton, Oklahoma, that while their warrior days are over, the 15,000 members of the Comanche Nation remain a proud people.
Video

Video Turkey Campus Attacks Raise Islamic Radicalization Fears

Concerns are growing in Turkey of Islamic radicalization at some universities, after clashes between supporters of the jihadist group Islamic State (IS) or ISIS, and those opposed to the extremists. Pro-jihadist literature is on sale openly on the streets of Istanbul. Critics accuse the government of turning a blind eye to radicalism at home, while Kurds accuse the president of supporting IS - a charge strongly denied. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

All About America

AppleAndroid