News / Asia

ASEAN Cites Progress on N. Korea, South China Sea

Foreign ministers and government officials attend the US - Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Regional Forum in Nusa Dua on Indonesia's resort island of Bali, July 23, 2011
Foreign ministers and government officials attend the US - Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Regional Forum in Nusa Dua on Indonesia's resort island of Bali, July 23, 2011

Multimedia

Audio
Brian Padden

North and South Korean leaders met for a second time on Saturday, the final day of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations' (ASEAN) security forum in Bali. ASEAN leaders cite facilitating the talks between the Koreas and the adoption of guidelines they hope will lead to a resolution to disputes in the South China Sea as major achievements of the conference.

A U.S. official described the talks between North and South Korean officials as substantial, productive and civil in tone. Still there was no announcement that the six party talks to end North Korea's nuclear weapons program would resume.

Foreign ministers from all six countries involved in the negotiations, the United States, China, Russia, Japan and North and South Korea, all attended the ASEAN conference.

ASEAN Chairman and Indonesian Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa said ASEAN's efforts to bring the two sides together is a sign of the organization's evolving role in fostering peace in the region.

"The conducive atmosphere we were able to facilitate [has] made it possible for our two brothers North and South Korea to be able to have their meetings at the sidelines of our meetings here in Bali," said Natalegawa.  "It must be emphasized that meetings of this type, informal, at the technical, at the senior official, indeed at the ministerial level would not have happened without a purposeful, deliberative and even low key efforts on the part of many of us."

The meetings between the Koreas were the first such session since 2008 when North Korea walked out on disarmament talks to protest international criticism of its missile and nuclear tests. Relations with South Korea have been tense ever since.

Pyongyang, which badly needs humanitarian and economic aid, has indicated in recent months that it might be ready to return to the negotiations.

North Korea's main ally, China, has been pressing for a speedy resumption of the talks.

The U.S. said it was grateful to see dialogue, but does not want to return to the unsuccessful past strategy of offering economic aid for concessions, only to see North Korea renege on its promises.

ASEAN leaders also cited the adoption of a preliminary plan to resolve territorial disputes in the potentially resource-rich South China Sea as another major achievement of the conference. China and all ASEAN members agreed to a set of broad guidelines to implement a 2002 Declaration of Conduct in the South China Sea.

One-third of the world's shipping transits through the strategic waterway and China claims the sea in its entirety. The Philippines, Vietnam, Taiwan, Brunei and Malaysia hold conflicting territorial claims.

But not all ASEAN delegates are happy with the agreement. Philippines Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario says the guidelines do not directly address the disputed areas or the validity of China's claim to territory over 1,000 kilometers from its shore. Instead he wants to see a framework that is specific, determinable and measurable.

"I think that guidelines as they are now are incomplete," said del Rosario.  "That to effectively implement the guidelines you need to find a process to segregate the disputed areas from the undisputed areas. We submitted a framework for that purpose and that framework is going to be vetted by legal experts from the ASEAN countries and this will take place in Manila [at the] end of September."

He says the Philippines is bolstered by the U.S. stated views that parties comply with international law to resolve their disputes.

ASEAN leaders says some progress was also made at the annual security forum to urge Burma to make democratic reforms before it takes over the chairmanship of ASEAN in 2014, and to reinforce ASEAN's continued role in mediating a border dispute between Cambodia and Thailand.

You May Like

Ebola Death Toll Nears 5,000 as Virus Advances

West Africa bears heaviest burden; Mali toddler’s death raises new fears More

Jordan’s Battle With Islamic State Militants Carries Domestic Risks

Despite Western concerns that IS militants are preparing a Jordanian offensive, analysts call the kingdom's solid intel a strong deterrent More

Asian-Americans Assume Office in Record Numbers

Steadily deepening engagement in local politics pays off for politicians like Chinese-American Judy Chu 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.
Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
October 25, 2014 4:21 PM
Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukraine

Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Comanche Chief Quanah Parker’s Century-Old House Falling Apart

One of the most fascinating people in U.S. history was Quanah Parker, the last chief of the American Indian tribe, the Comanche. He was the son of a Comanche warrior and a white woman who had been captured by the Indians. Parker was a fierce warrior until 1875 when he led his people to Fort Sill, Oklahoma, and took on a new, peaceful life. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Cache, Oklahoma, Quanah’s image remains strong among his people, but part of his heritage is in danger of disappearing.
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 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 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.

All About America

AppleAndroid