News / Asia

ASEAN Maritime Specialists Discuss Guidelines to Resolve S. China Sea Dispute

A protester holds a red T-shirt with a yellow star, representing Vietnam's national flag, while chanting anti-China slogans with other demonstrators during a rally against China's claims in the oil-rich South China Sea, in Hanoi, Vietnam, July 2011. (file
A protester holds a red T-shirt with a yellow star, representing Vietnam's national flag, while chanting anti-China slogans with other demonstrators during a rally against China's claims in the oil-rich South China Sea, in Hanoi, Vietnam, July 2011. (file
Brian Padden

Maritime specialists from across Southeast Asia are meeting in Manila to discuss a Philippine proposal for avoiding future conflicts in disputed territory in the South China Sea. The Philippines has been advocating for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations [ASEAN] to take a stronger stand against China's claims on the disputed region that is rich in oil and natural gas.

Carl Thayer, a Southeast Asia academic with the University of New South Wales in Australia, said the meeting of maritime officials in Manila is part of the convoluted plan China and ASEAN agreed upon to resolve the conflicting claims in the South China Sea.

In July, both sides agreed to adopt vague guidelines to implement a declaration of conduct of parties in the South China Sea and then to develop a code of conduct to settle disputes. Thayer said this meeting is just the beginning of that process.

“So ASEAN legal experts are gathering and the question is, what would be a difference between a declaration on conduct of parties and a code of conduct that would make it legally binding? Most international law experts say it would have to be a treaty. But that is a road too far to take,” explained Thayer.

Conflicting claims

China, Taiwan the Philippines, Vietnam, Brunei and Malaysia all hold conflicting territorial claims in the South China Sea, which is believed to hold huge oil and gas reserves.

Thayer said the Philippines is the driving force behind the meeting and would like to press ASEAN to take a stronger stand against China's claim to the entire South China Sea.

Both the Philippines and Vietnam have complained of Chinese interference with ships exploring for oil and gas in waters the two countries claim as their exclusive economic zones. Beijing has defended its actions, saying its ships were acting in Chinese waters.

At the meeting, Philippines Vice President Jejomar Binay proposed making the disputed area a zone of peace, freedom, friendship and cooperation.

Defining disputed areas

But, under the Philippine proposal, the claimant countries would delineate which areas are in dispute and which are not. Exploration could then go ahead in the undisputed areas, while the disputed areas would be turned into an area for joint cooperation.

Thayer says that, although China may not like taking a multilateral approach to the problem, it agreed to deal with ASEAN on this issue when it signed on to the guidelines.

But he said this also could work in China's favor because some ASEAN countries, like Cambodia and Burma, are more sympathetic to China's position and will be unwilling to go along with any positions that may be seen as provocative.

“So they are trying to drag the other ASEAN states into nailing it down legally, and I suspect that if that becomes a legal point of friction with China, it will be very difficult for the Philippines to gain a consensus on this.”

The group's findings will be passed to senior officials from ASEAN, who will make recommendations ahead of the East Asia summit in November.

You May Like

Could Nemtsov Threaten Putin in Death as in Life?

Dynamic and debonair opposition leader had supported liberal economic reforms, criticized Russian president's aggression in Ukraine More

Oil Smuggling Highlights Challenges in Shutting Down IS Finances

Pentagon spokesman says Islamic State 'certainly continues to get revenue from the oil industry black market' but that airstrikes have made a dent More

India Focuses on Infrastructure, Investment to Propel Economy

Government expects economy to grow at 8 to 8.5 percent in next fiscal year 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 Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Casei
X
Katherine Gypson
February 25, 2015 11:30 PM
The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Case

The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Hurt Nascent Illinois Hydraulic Fracturing Industry

Falling oil prices are helping consumers purchase cheaper petroleum at the pump. But that’s made hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” less economically viable for the companies in the United States invested in the process. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports on one Midwestern town that was hoping to change its fortunes by cashing in on the next big U.S. oil boom.
Video

Video Fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan Fuels Mass Displacement

Heavy fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan state is causing hundreds of thousands to flee into uncertain conditions. Local aid organizations estimate as many as 400,000 civilians have been internally displaced since the conflict began more than three years ago, while another 250,000 have fled across the border to refugee camps in South Sudan. VOA's Adam Bailes reports.
Video

Video Lao Dam Project Runs Into Opposition

A Lao dam project on a section of the Mekong River is drawing opposition from local fishermen, international environmental groups and neighboring countries. VOA's Say Mony visited the region to investigate the concerns. Colin Lovett narrates.
Video

Video A Filmmaker Discovers Her Biracial Identity in "Little White Lie

Lacey Schwartz grew up in an upper middle-class Jewish family, in a town in upstate New York where almost everyone she knew was white. She assumed that she was, as well. Her recent documentary, Little White Lie, tells the story of how she uncovered the secret of her true racial background. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more on the film.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.
Video

Video US-Cuba Normalization Talks Resume Friday

Negotiations aimed at normalizing diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba resume Friday. On the table: lifting a half-century trade embargo and easing banking and travel restrictions. There's opposition in Congress, but some analysts say there may be sufficient political and economic incentives in both nations for a potential breakthrough this year. VOA's Mil Arcega reports.
Video

Video Pakistan's Deadline For SIM Registration Has Cellphone Users Scrambling

Pakistani cell phone users have until midnight Thursday to register their SIM cards, or their service will be cut off. While some privacy experts worry about government intrusion, many Pakistanis are just worried about keeping their phone lines open. VOA Deewa reporter Arshad Muhmand has more from Peshawar.
Video

Video Myanmar Warns Factory Workers to End Strikes

Outside Myanmar's main city Yangon, thousands of workers walked off their jobs earlier this month demanding a doubling of their wages, pay raises after a year and input from labor unions on industrial regulations. Since Friday, the standoff has grown more tense as police moved in to disrupt the sit-ins, resulting in clashes that injured people from both sides. VOA correspondent Steve Herman visited industrial zones which have become a focus of Myanmar's fledgling workers rights movement.
Video

Video Oscar Winners Do More Than Thank the Academy

The Academy Awards presentation is Hollywood’s night to reward the best movies from the previous year. It’s typically a lot of glitter, a lot of thank you’s, a lot of speeches. But many of this year’s speeches carried messages beyond the thank you's. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti takes a look.

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