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

DRC Tries Mega-Farms to Feed Population

Park at Boukanga Lonzo currently has 5,000 hectares under cultivation, crops stretching as far as eye can see, and is start of ambitious large-scale agriculture plan More

Video Survivor Video Testimonies Recount Horrors of Guatemalan Genocide

During a conflict that spanned more than three decades, tens of thousands of indigenous Mayans were killed More

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Areas are spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, source of livelihood for fishermen and herders who have called the marshes home for generations 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.
Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOAi
X
August 31, 2015 2:17 AM
Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.

VOA Blogs