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

Lebanese Media Unite to Support Palestinians in Gaza

Joint newscast billed as Arab world’s first unified news bulletin in support of Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip More

Photogallery Australian PM Alleges ‘Coverup’ at MH17 Crash Site

Meanwhile, Russia's ambassador to Malaysia denies plane's black boxes were opened before they were handed over to Malaysian officials More

Despite Advances in AIDS Treatment, Stigma Lingers

Leading immunologist tells VOA that stigma is often what prevents those infected with disease from seeking treatment 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.
IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Formi
X
July 22, 2014 10:26 AM
Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Chicago’s Argonne Lab Developing Battery of the Future

In 2012, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science awarded a $120 million grant to a new technology center focused on battery development - headquartered at Argonne National Laboratory in suburban Chicago, Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there scientists are making the next technological breakthroughs in energy storage.
Video

Video In NW Pakistan, Army Offensive Causes Massive Number of Displaced

Pakistan’s army offensive in North Waziristan has resulted in the large-scale displacement of the local population. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from northwest Pakistan where authorities say around 80 percent of the estimated 1 million internally displaced persons [IDPs] have settled in Bannu district, while much of the remaining 20 percent are scattered in nearby cities.
Video

Video Kurdish Peshmerga Force Secures Kirkuk, Its Oil

The Kurdistan regional government has sent its Peshmerga troops into the adjacent province of Kirkuk to drive out insurgents, and to secure the area's rich oil fields. By doing this, the regional government has added a fourth province to the three it officially controls. The oil also provides revenue that could make an independent Kurdistan economically strong. VOA’s Jeffrey Young went out with the Peshmerga and filed this report.
Video

Video Malaysia Reeling: Second Air Disaster in Four Months

Malaysia is reeling from the second air disaster in four months involving the country’s flag carrier. Flight 340 vanished in March and despite an extensive search, no debris has been found. And on Thursday, Flight 17, likely hit by a surface-to-air missile, came apart over eastern Ukraine. The two incidents together have left more than 500 people dead. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Kuala Lumpur.

AppleAndroid