News / Asia

    ASEAN Ministers to Discuss South China Sea, Other Issues

    ASEAN Ministers to Discuss South China Sea, Other Issuesi
    X
    August 07, 2014 7:39 AM
    Foreign ministers of Southeast Asian countries, as well as those from the U.S., China and other nations, are gathering in Myanmar’s capital Naypyidaw this week for two key meetings, including the 27-member regional security forum. Steve Herman reports.

    Foreign ministers of Southeast Asian countries, as well as those from the U.S., China and other nations, are gathering in Myanmar’s capital Naypyidaw this week for two key meetings, including the 27-member regional security forum.
     
    The meetings in Myanmar, also known as Burma come as ASEAN continues preparations to launch its integrated economic community next year, which would ease restrictions on trade and labor across borders.
     
    While much of the change in the region is market driven, there are contentious political issues dividing ASEAN members.
     
    The South China Sea dispute is high on the agenda at all of the association's major meetings this year.

    The top U.S. diplomat for East Asia, Daniel Russel, says China's temporary positioning this year of an oil platform in waters also claimed by Vietnam has further increased tension in the region.

    "China as a large and powerful nation has a special responsibility to show restraint. There is a big footprint that comes with military strength and it warrants setting your foot very, very carefully and treading very gingerly when you are in a sensitive area," said Russel.
     
    Professor Panitan Wattanayagorn, a close observer of ASEAN matters,  cautions progress on such major issues will remain slow due to historical legacies.
     
    “This region is, of course, full of, in the past, suspicious intents, lack of trust, especially in terms of military capability, especially in terms of the growth of the big powers. The region has gone through so many decades of turmoil during the colonial period, during the cold war period," said Wattanayagorn.
     
    Since the May 22nd coup Thailand has faced diplomatic pressure from the West, including cuts in military assistance, for suspending democracy. That has triggered concern among ASEAN members and others that, as a result, Bangkok could be heading towards a closer relationship with Beijing.  
     
    “The Thai representatives need to assure that that will not be the case, that there will be a more balanced approach, getting engaged with all countries, like Myanmar, like Cambodia. Like most of the rest of the ASEAN members, they have to be more well-rounded, they have to be more multi-dimensional," said Wattanayagorn.
     
    An unprecedented dimension this year is Myanmar chairing ASEAN meetings for the first time.
     
    But as Myanmar deals with communal violence and insurgencies while transitioning away from absolute military rule, there is skepticism among some in ASEAN on whether it can provide effective leadership.
     
    But the bar may not be that high.  ASEAN, founded in 1967, is driven by the principle of not criticizing its members’ affairs.
     
    That has led to outcomes that have earned little applause - vague consensus on critical issues, leading to questions about ASEAN’s relevancy in a fast-changing world.


    Steve Herman

    A veteran journalist, Steve Herman is VOA's Southeast Asia Bureau Chief and Correspondent, based in Bangkok.

    You May Like

    Native Americans Ask: What About Our Water Supply?

    They say they have been facing a dangerous water contaminant for decades - uranium – but the problem has received far less attention than water contamination by lead in Flint, Michigan

    Pakistan's President Urges Nation Not to Celebrate Valentine's Day

    Mamnoon Hussain criticizes Valentine's Day, which falls on Sunday this year, as a Western import that threatens to undermine the Islamic values of Pakistan

    Mother of IS Supporter: Son Was Peaceful, 'Role Model'

    Somali-American Abdirizak Mohamed Warsame pleaded guilty Thursday to charges of conspiring to provide material support to Islamic State militants

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: barbacommie from: USA
    August 05, 2014 11:32 PM
    You are absolutely right, China won't give up an inch of its motherland which can be just about anything China thinks of or needs. If it needs South China Sea it will concoct a reason to claim it as " indisputable part of China territory ". One day it will claim America too because there is evidence that the Chinese had set foot in it long before Columbus did. Wow there is a lot of land here, abundant natural resources...Russia has to be up at night being China's next door neighbor.

    by: meanbill from: USA
    August 05, 2014 6:36 PM
    China has already told the US and the world, "They do not discuss their internal affairs, policies, or politics with outside countries, and China told the US there's "no compromise _ no concessions" on the (ADIZ), and China also said, they will never ever give up "one inch" of the Chinese motherland again..... (wherever that Chinese "one inch" of that sovereign land, sea, or air, may be)....

    The US may discuss it with the (ASEAN) countries, (but), what part of the Chinese statements doesn't the US understand?.... But that's the new US strategy now, talk, talk, and talk, and more useless talks, isn't it?.

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    New Technology Aims to Bring Election Transparency to Ugandai
    X
    Serginho Roosblad
    February 12, 2016 9:29 PM
    A team of recent graduates from Uganda’s Makerere University has created a mobile application designed to help monitor elections and expose possible rigging. The developers say the app, called E-Poll, will make Uganda's democratic process fairer. From Kampala, VOA's Serginho Roosblad reports.
    Video

    Video New Technology Aims to Bring Election Transparency to Uganda

    A team of recent graduates from Uganda’s Makerere University has created a mobile application designed to help monitor elections and expose possible rigging. The developers say the app, called E-Poll, will make Uganda's democratic process fairer. From Kampala, VOA's Serginho Roosblad reports.
    Video

    Video Refugees in Kenya Vie to Compete in Rio Olympics

    In Kenya, refugees from other African nations are training at a special camp and competing for a limited number of slots in this year's Rio Olympics under the flag of the International Olympic Committee (IOC). As Lenny Ruvaga reports from Ngong, this is a first in Olympic history.
    Video

    Video Gateway to Mecca: Historical Old Jeddah

    Local leader Sami Nawar's family has been in the Old City of Jeddah for hundreds of years and takes us on a tour of this ancient route to Mecca, also believed to be the final resting place of Adam's wife, Eve.
    Video

    Video Two-thirds of World Faces Water Shortage

    Four billion people — or two out of every three on the planet — do not have enough water to meet their basic needs. That is far greater than previously thought, according to a new study that presents a more accurate picture of the problem. As VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports, the findings will help policymakers and the public craft solutions to address the threat.
    Video

    Video As Refugees Perish, Greek Graveyards Fill

    Aid workers on the Greek island of Lesbos say they are struggling to bury the increasing number of bodies of refugees that have been recovered or washed up ashore in recent months.  The graveyards are all full, they say, yet as tens of thousands of people clamor to get out of Syria, it is clear refugees will still be coming in record numbers. For VOA, Hamada Elrasam reports from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video Russia Bristles at NATO Expansion in E. Europe

    Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov is meeting Friday with the head of NATO after the Western military alliance and the United States announced plans for the biggest military build-up in Europe since the Cold War. Russia has called NATO's moves a threat to stability in Europe. But NATO says the troop rotations and equipment are aimed at reassuring allies concerned about Russia as VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video To Fight Zika, Scientists Target Mosquitoes

    Mosquitoes strike again. The Zika virus outbreak is just the latest headline-grabbing epidemic carried by these biting pests, but researchers are fighting back with new ways to control them. VOA's Steve Baragona takes a look.
    Video

    Video Mosul Refugees Talk About Life Under IS

    A top U.S. intelligence official told Congress this week that a planned Iraqi-led operation to re-take the city of Mosul from Islamic State militants is unlikely to take place this year. IS took over the city in June 2014, and for the past year and a half, Mosul residents have been held captive under its rule. VOA's Zana Omar talked to some families who managed to escape. Bronwyn Benito narrates his report.
    Video

    Video Scientists Make Progress Toward Better Diabetes Treatment, Cure

    Scientists at two of the top U.S. universities say they have made significant advances in their quest to find a more efficient treatment for diabetes and eventually a cure. According to the International Diabetes Federation, the disease affects more than 370 million people worldwide. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video NATO to Target Migrant Smugglers

    NATO has announced plans to send warships to the Aegean Sea to target migrant smugglers in the alliance's most direct intervention so far since a wave of people began trying to reach European shores.
    Video

    Video Used Books Get a New Life on the Streets of Lagos

    Used booksellers are importing books from abroad and selling them on the streets of Africa's largest city. What‘s popular with readers may surprise you. Chris Stein reports from Lagos.
    Video

    Video After NH Primaries All Eyes on South Carolina

    After Tuesday's primary in New Hampshire, US presidential candidates swiftly turned to the next election coming up in South Carolina. The so-called “first-in-the-South” poll may help further narrow down the field of candidates. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video Smartphone Helps Grow Vegetables

    One day, you may be using your smartphone to grow your vegetables. A Taipei-based company has developed a farm cube — a small, enclosed ecosystem designed to grow plants indoors. The environment inside is automatically adjusted by the cube, but it can also be controlled through an app. VOA's Deborah Block has more on the gardening system.
    Video

    Video Exhibit Turns da Vinci’s Drawings Into Real Objects

    In addition to being a successful artist, Renaissance genius Leonardo da Vinci designed many practical machines, some of which are still in use today, although in different forms. But a number of his projects were never realized — until today. VOA’s George Putic reports.