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

Is Air Travel Safe?

Aviation expert says despite tragic losses of Malaysian Airlines flights 370 and 17, industry experienced lowest fatality rate in recorded history last year More

Multimedia 100 Days Later, Nigerian Girls Still Held

Activists holding rallies in Nigeria and several other countries to mark 100th day of captivity for more than 200 schoolgirls being held by Boko Haram More

Chocolate Too Bitter? Swap Sugar for Mushrooms

US food technology company develops fermentation process using mushrooms to reduce bitterness in cocoa beans, believes it will cut sugar content in candy 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.
US Carriers Suspend Travel to Israeli
X
Carolyn Presutti
July 23, 2014 1:21 AM
The United States is prohibiting American carriers from flying to Israel's airport in Tel Aviv for 24 hours, because of rising violence between Israel and Hamas militants. The action was announced on Tuesday, after a rocket fired by Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip landed near the airport. As VOA's Carolyn Presutti tells us, international officials soon may have to determine which combat zones are too dangerous for commercial flights.
Video

Video US Carriers Suspend Travel to Israel

The United States is prohibiting American carriers from flying to Israel's airport in Tel Aviv for 24 hours, because of rising violence between Israel and Hamas militants. The action was announced on Tuesday, after a rocket fired by Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip landed near the airport. As VOA's Carolyn Presutti tells us, international officials soon may have to determine which combat zones are too dangerous for commercial flights.
Video

Video NASA Focuses on Earth-Like Planets

For decades, looking for life elsewhere in the universe meant listening for signals that could be from distant civilizations. But recent breakthroughs in space technology refocused some of that effort toward finding planets that may harbor life, even in its primitive form. VOA’s George Putic reports on a recent panel discussion at NASA’s headquarters, in Washington.
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 US Awards Medal of Honor for Heroics in Bloodiest of Afghan Battles

U.S. combat troops are withdrawing from Afghanistan, on pace to leave the country by the end of this year. But on Monday, U.S. President Barack Obama took time to honor a soldier whose actions while under fire in Afghanistan earned him the Medal of Honor. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from the Pentagon.
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.

AppleAndroid