News / Asia

South China Sea Dispute Remains Problem for ASEAN

U.S. President Barack Obama (5th L) participates in a family photo with ASEAN leaders during the ASEAN Summit at the Peace Palace in Phnom Penh, November 19, 2012.
U.S. President Barack Obama (5th L) participates in a family photo with ASEAN leaders during the ASEAN Summit at the Peace Palace in Phnom Penh, November 19, 2012.
Irwin Loy
The Association of Southeast Asian Nations [ASEAN] emerged from a key leader summit Tuesday with progress on potential trade alliances and the economy. It still appeared divided, though, on what continues to be a controversial issue: the South China Sea and multiple countries claiming territorial ownership.

Going into this week's leaders summit, ASEAN members had hoped for a resounding show of unity following explosive meetings in July that exposed divisions through the 10-member bloc.

By the end of the summit Tuesday, ASEAN members were claiming some degree of progress on the South China Sea dispute. But the final day of meetings also showed the regional bloc is far from united on the issue.

Philippines take issue

The Philippines, ASEAN’s most outspoken claimant, still objected to how the bloc’s chair, Cambodia, had declared that leaders agreed not to “internationalize” the maritime dispute.

Albert del Rosario is the Philippines’ foreign affairs secretary.

“We think that it is the inherent right of any sovereign country to be able to protect its national interest. So that’s the position we have taken," he said. "As far as we are concerned, the rules on consensus means everyone must be on board. Obviously we’re not on board, so there is no consensus."

China flexes muscle

Four ASEAN countries claim parts of the energy-rich sea. But it is China’s large claim over the sea that has caused disagreements within ASEAN. China in the past has not wanted ASEAN involvement in negotiations concerning the South China Sea.

In July, Cambodia was accused of siding with China on the issue. Any thoughts of a repeat of another public meltdown to end the meetings were quashed Tuesday, however, when Cambodia released a watered down chairman’s statement summarizing the week’s discussions.

“On the issue of the South China Sea, ASEAN leaders agreed to continue to address this issue in the existing ASEAN-China framework,” said Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen, speaking through an interpreter.

Officals stress unity

ASEAN officials also were downplaying any disagreements on the issue.

“I think it’s a matter of interpretation," said Surin Pitsuwan, ASEAN’s secretary general. "As far as I am concerned there is a consensus that we would like to pursue the issue without having it affecting other constructive, other positive momentum that we are trying to create, that we have achieved here so that we can look into the future. We can look into the horizon that a lot of potentials must be harvested for all of us now. If the interpretation would obstruct my rights to pursue my interest into the future through other channels that was not it was meant. It meant that you have all the rights whatever member state but here we are trying to pursue it within the framework of cooperation, framework of coordination and we will be conscious of the fact that we have a larger agenda up in front of us.”

Consensus or not, ASEAN says there is a renewed commitment to implementing a decade-old Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea, known as a DOC - a broad pledge to resolve the matter through peaceful means.

But the bloc appears no closer to actually solving the territorial dispute. With the conclusion of another leaders’ meeting, countries are still unable to peg a timeline to begin negotiations on a long-elusive Code of Conduct [COC], that might settle the dispute.

You May Like

Photogallery Americans Celebrate Thanksgiving With Feasts, Festivities

Holiday traditions include turkey dinners, 'turkey trots,' American-style football and New York parade with giant balloons More

Video For Obama, Ferguson Violence is a Personal Issue

With two years left in term, analysts say, president has less to lose by taking conversation on race further More

Video Italian Espresso Expands Into Space

When Italian astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti headed for the ISS, her countrymen worried how she would survive six months drinking only instant coffee More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Manh from: Hanoi, Vietnam
November 22, 2012 11:40 PM
This is not South China Sea, if we can call it in English, It's East Sea, and in Vietnamese, we call it "Biển Đông", it not belong to China, it is sea of ASEAN


by: timothy dixon from: usa
November 22, 2012 12:49 PM
The world is headed on a one way no return ticket to all out war the bible is coming to past in record time JESUS said lest I shorten the days there would be no flesh standing this is a shame but when greed the fruits of flesh lead the way there can no hope come from man there is not one man on earth that is righteous no not one i pray for CHINA and all of ASIA let there be a great revival LORD that your name be lifted up for we are in true need of you for all you have done keep a hedge around the Innocent GOD BLESS


by: Anonymous from: Philippines
November 21, 2012 11:14 AM
Good job by Pres. Aquino III in asserting our sovereignity. For the record, Panatag Shoal/Reef (Scarborough Shoal/Reef) is not an island (duh). those uninhabitable rocks lie within our EEZ. the Philippines is clearly in the right.

SCS always had territories with multiple claimants, but is handled peacefully through discourse. I can clearly recall - there was peace until China.

In Response

by: Anonymous from: Philippines
November 24, 2012 3:17 AM
China is a signatory of UNCLOS and COC, and it now wants to use "history facts" to claim territory. And the so-called nine dash line looks provocative enough that no one will ever side on China.

In Response

by: Sun from: Taipei
November 21, 2012 10:26 PM
@爱中国. You must learn genuine history of China. In 1644, Han-tribe Ming was conquered by Qing. So, current CCP (Han-tribe) does not have any right to claim to South China Sea islands. These islands belong to other countries such as Taiwan, Philippines, Vietnam, and the like. China must obey International laws ---That is the justice. Taiwanese are not the same as Chinese in Mainland!

In Response

by: 爱中国
November 21, 2012 4:16 PM
Panatag Shoal/Reef (Scarborough Shoal/Reef) may lies in your EEZ , however, United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea only valid from 1982, but the reef was in Chins's territory from 1500s.


by: mhey from: Philippines
November 21, 2012 3:26 AM
I think if all these ASEAN claimants will unite,this China's puppet Cambodian leader has nothing to do in blocking the issue.


by: clueless
November 20, 2012 10:51 PM
Any countries who think by internationalizing an issue will solve it, will actually make it worse. Forcing an issue on another party will not lead to any productive discussion. Even if the entire SEA countries insist on certain agenda, China can just refuse to participate or just walk out, which make the matter worse. Smile.

In Response

by: kingkong
November 21, 2012 8:50 PM
"internationalizing" doesn't mean discussion with all claimants. It means going to international arbitration like International court of justice and International tribunal of the law of the sea!


by: Sun from: Taipei
November 20, 2012 10:28 PM
China must obey the declaration of conduct over disputed islands. Otherwise, China will be besieged by all other South East Asian countries and other major countries such as Japan, India, and Australia. Chinese current policy to lob other countries of their inherent territories and natural resources cannot be allowed by any other countries.

In Response

by: 爱中国 from: Canada
November 21, 2012 4:11 PM
what Taiwan claims is exactly same as China claims because it is China's territory, China doesn't want other countries land but we can't afford to maintain peace by losing our terriitory.

In Response

by: Jonathan Huang from: canada
November 21, 2012 11:57 AM
@Sun from Taipei. shame on you, Taiwan claims the whole south China sea and Diaoyu island too. There is no difference between China's claim and Taiwan's claim, because we are the same.


by: Aliamaba from: usa
November 20, 2012 2:39 PM
THAI' Leader remain on number 1 beautiful world leaders


by: L A Read from: California
November 20, 2012 1:58 PM
Here's the solution: Give one-quarter to each of the countries for 25 years, or a pre-determined time frame, then they swap their respective territories, either by lottery or some other treaty agreement.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
To Make A Living, Nairobi Street Vendors Face Legal Hurdles, Physical Violencei
X
Lenny Ruvaga
November 27, 2014 7:05 PM
The Nairobi City Council has been accused of brutality in dealing with hawkers in the Central Business District - in order to stop them from illegally selling their wares on the streets. Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.
Video

Video To Make A Living, Nairobi Street Vendors Face Legal Hurdles, Physical Violence

The Nairobi City Council has been accused of brutality in dealing with hawkers in the Central Business District - in order to stop them from illegally selling their wares on the streets. Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.
Video

Video For Obama, Ferguson Violence is a Personal Issue

Throughout the crisis in Ferguson, Missouri, President Barack Obama has urged calm, restraint and respect for the rule of law. But the events in Ferguson have prompted him to call — more openly than he has before — for profound changes to end the racism and distrust that he believes still exists between whites and blacks in the United States. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Online Magazine Gets Kids Discussing Big Questions

Teen culture in America is often criticized for being superficial. But an online magazine has been encouraging some teenagers to explore deeper issues, and rewarding their efforts. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky went to this year’s Kidspirit awards ceremony in New York.
Video

Video US Community Kicks Off Thanksgiving With Parade

Thursday is Thanksgiving in the United States, a holiday whose roots go back to the country's earliest days as a British colony. One way Americans celebrate the occasion is with parades. Anush Avetisyan takes us to one such event on the day before Thanksgiving near Washington, where a community's diversity is on display. Joy Wagner narrates
Video

Video Aung San Suu Kyi: Myanmar Opposition to Keep Pushing for Constitutional Change

Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi says she and her supporters will continue pushing to amend a constitutional clause that bars her from running for president next year. VOA's Than Lwin Htun reports from the capital Naypyitaw in this report narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Mali Attempts to Shut Down Ebola Transmission Chain

Senegal and Nigeria were able to stop small Ebola outbreaks by closely monitoring those who had contact with the sick person and quickly isolating anyone with symptoms. Mali is now scrambling to do the same. VOA’s Anne Look reports from Mali on what the country is doing to shut down the chain of transmission.
Video

Video Ukraine Marks Anniversary of Deadly 1930s Famine

During a commemoration for millions who died of starvation in Ukraine in the early 1930s, President Petro Poroshenko lashed out at Soviet-era totalitarianism for causing the deaths and accused today’s Russian-backed rebels in the east of using similar tactics. VOA’s Daniel Shearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests at a Crossroads

New public opinion polls in Hong Kong indicate declining support for pro-democracy demonstrations after weeks of street protests. VOA’s Bill Ide in Guangzhou and Pros Laput in Hong Kong spoke with protesters and observers about whether demonstrators have been too aggressive in pushing for change.
Video

Video US Immigration Relief Imminent for Mixed-Status Families

Tens of thousands of undocumented immigrants in the Washington, D.C., area may benefit from a controversial presidential order announced this week. It's not a path to citizenship, as some activists hoped. But it will allow more immigrants who arrived as children or who have citizen children, to avoid deportation and work legally. VOA's Victoria Macchi talks with one young man who benefited from an earlier presidential order, and whose parents may now benefit after years of living in fear.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid