News / Asia

ASEAN FMs Avoid Controversy in Setting 2011 Summit Agenda

Foreign ministers of Japan and Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) member nations hold a news conference after a special ASEAN-Japan ministerial meeting, Jakarta, Indonesia, April 9, 2011.
Foreign ministers of Japan and Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) member nations hold a news conference after a special ASEAN-Japan ministerial meeting, Jakarta, Indonesia, April 9, 2011.

Southeast Asian nations will not discuss maritime border disputes when they meet later this year with their key dialogue partners, unless there are further clashes in disputed territory. Burma’s government also told regional foreign ministers that it is open to dialogue with opposition parties.

Foreign ministers of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations Monday said they will address political and security issues when they meet later this year with partners in the East Asia Summit.

But Indonesian Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa says one of the most contentious issues raised last year, the South China Sea, is off the agenda.

China lays claim to most of the sea, including areas that Taiwan and ASEAN members Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Vietnam also claim.

China and Vietnam have fought over tiny islands in the disputed territory and Beijing’s navy has been increasingly assertive in the area, believed to be rich in oil and near critical sea lanes.

At the close of the ASEAN foreign ministers meeting Monday, Natalegawa said some maritime issues will be discussed at the summit, but South China Sea dispute will stay off the table unless there were renewed clashes.

"Whether that maritime issues include South China Sea depends on where we are when the leaders meet," he said. "Hopefully, things are very quiet and very stable and therefore there is no need to bring the issue to the East Asia Summit."

The East Asia Summit brings together the 10 ASEAN nations, plus Australia, China, India, Japan, New Zealand, and South Korea.

At ASEAN meetings last year, United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said the peaceful resolution of the South China Sea disputes is also in Washington’s interest, sparking a harsh response from China.

Russia and the United States attended the summit as observers last year but this year will be full participants.

Some ASEAN nations are want to make sure their agenda dominates the East Asia Summit, and that it not be pushed aside by the concerns of ASEAN’s powerful dialogue partners.

Natalegawa says ASEAN foreign ministers agreed Monday one way to do that would be to only discuss issues which they had a common position on or that were current events and could not be ignored.

They also discussed Burma’s development of democracy after a nominally civilian government in March replaced the military one.

He says Burma’s foreign minister, Wunna Maung Lwin, told the meeting it was leaving the door open to communicate with “all elements” in the country, including democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

"I had spoken on a number of occasions, not as ASEAN chair but as Indonesia, with Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, on a number of occasions," said Natalegawa. "I know she is looking forward to having these communications with the new government in [Burma]. So, we would like to see if the new government is also of that view, then this communication ought to be taking place in real and not just in intentions."

Natalegawa also said the ASEAN ministers also discussed a deadly border dispute in February between Cambodia and Thailand when their militaries exchanged artillery and machine gun fire, killing several people on both sides.

Indonesia, as ASEAN chair, brokered an agreement to send observers to the disputed area to monitor an informal ceasefire.

But Natalegawa said Monday the deployment of observers has been delayed by disagreement over which areas they should be allowed to monitor.

You May Like

Nigeria Incumbent in Tight Spot as Poll Nears

Muhammadu Buhari is running a strong challenge to Goodluck Jonathan, amid a faltering economy and Boko Haram security worries More

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo tells VOA that despite her fame, life is still a struggle as she waits for government's promise of support to arrive More

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

At least seven different indigenous groups in Ratanakiri depend mainly on forest products for their survival, say they face loss of their land, traditional way of life 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.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More