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

    Video Democrats Clinton, Kaine Offer 'Very Different Vision' Than Trump

    In a jab at Trump, Clinton says her team wants to 'build bridges, not walls'; Obama Hails Kaine's record; Trump calls Kaine a 'job-killer'

    Turkey Wants Pakistan to Close Down institutions, Businesses Linked to Gulen

    Thousands of Pakistani students are enrolled in Gulen's commercial network of around two dozen institutions operating in Pakistan for over two decades

    AU Passport A Work in Progress

    Who will get the passport and what the benefits are still need to be worked out

    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.
    In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movementi
    X
    July 22, 2016 11:49 AM
    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Border

    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.
    Video

    Video New HIV Tests Emphasize Rapid Results

    As the global fight against AIDS intensifies, activists have placed increasing importance on getting people to know their HIV status. Some companies are developing new HIV testing methods designed to be quick, easy and accurate. Thuso Khumalo looks at the latest methods, presented at the International AIDS conference in Durban, South Africa.
    Video

    Video African Youth with HIV Urge More Support

    HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is the top killer of teens in sub-Saharan Africa. But many youths say their experience with the virus is unique and needs to be addressed differently than the adult epidemic. VOA South African Correspondent Anita Powell reports.
    Video

    Video Poor Residents in Cleveland Not Feeling High Hopes of Republican Convention

    With the Republican Party's National Convention underway in Cleveland, Ohio, delegates and visitors are gathered in the host city's downtown - waiting to hear from the party's presidential candidate, Donald Trump. But a few kilometers from the convention's venue, Cleveland's poorest residents are not convinced Trump or his policies will make a difference in their lives. VOA's Ramon Taylor spoke with some of these residents as well as some of the Republican delegates and filed this report.
    Video

    Video Pop-Up Art Comes to Your Living Room, Backyard and Elsewhere

    Around the world, independent artists and musicians wrestle with a common problem: where to exhibit or perform? Traditional spaces such as museums and galleries are reserved for bigger names, and renting a space is not feasible for many. Enter ArtsUp, which connects artists with venue owners. Whether it’s a living room, restaurant, office or even a boat, pop-up events are bringing music and art to unexpected places. Tina Trinh has more.
    Video

    Video With Yosemite as Backdrop, Obama Praises National Parks

    Last month, President Barack Obama and his family visited some of the most beautiful national parks in the U.S. Using the majestic backdrop of a towering waterfall in California's Yosemite National Park, Obama praised the national park system which celebrates its 100th anniversary this year. He talked about the importance of America’s “national treasures” and the need to protect them from climate change and other threats. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Counter-Islamic State Coalition Plots Next Steps

    As momentum shifts against Islamic State in Iraq, discussions are taking place about the next steps for driving the terrorist group from its final strongholds. Secretary of State John Kerry is hosting a counter-IS meeting at the State Department, a day after defense ministers from more than 30 countries reviewed and agreed upon a course of action. VOA Pentagon correspondent Carla Babb reports.
    Video

    Video Russia's Participation at Brazil Olympic Games Still In Question

    The International Olympic Committee has delayed a decision on whether to ban all Russian teams from competing in next month's Olympic Games in Brazil over allegations of an elaborate doping scheme. The World Anti-Doping Agency recently released an independent report alleging widespread doping by Russian athletes at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. So far, only Russian track and field athletes have been barred from the Summer Games in Brazil. VOA's Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Scotland’s Booming Whisky Industry Fears Brexit Hangover

    After Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, Scotland’s government wants to break away from the United Kingdom – fearing the nation’s exports are at risk. Among the biggest of these is whisky. Henry Ridgwell reports on a time of turmoil for those involved in the ancient art of distilling Scotland’s most famous product.
    Video

    Video Millennials Could Determine Who Wins Race to White House

    With only four months to go until Americans elect a new president, one group of voters is getting a lot more attention these days: those ages 18 to 35, a generation known as millennials. It’s a demographic that some analysts say could have the power to decide the 2016 election. But a lot depends on whether they actually turn out to vote. VOA’s Alexa Lamanna reports.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora