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

Brutality Eroding IS Financial Support

Director of National Intelligence James Clapper says IS's penchant for publicizing beheadings, other brutal forms of punishment hurts group’s bottom line More

Studies: Climate Change a Factor in Disasters in Syria, California

The studies point to the possibility of clear and present dangers from a threat often considered to be far in the future More

Video Afghan Refugees Complain of Harassment in Pakistan

Afghan officials and human rights organizations assert that Pakistani authorities are using deadly attack at school in Peshawar as pretext to push out Afghan refugees More

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.
Kerry Seeks Assurances of Russian Non-Interference in Ukrainei
X
March 03, 2015 3:11 AM
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has told his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, that his country could face further consequences to what he called its “already strained economy” if Moscow does not fully comply with a cease-fire in Ukraine. The two met, on Monday, on the sidelines of a U.N. Human Rights Council meeting in Geneva, where Kerry outlined human rights violations in Russian-annexed Crimea and eastern Ukraine. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports from Geneva.
Video

Video Kerry Seeks Assurances of Russian Non-Interference in Ukraine

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has told his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, that his country could face further consequences to what he called its “already strained economy” if Moscow does not fully comply with a cease-fire in Ukraine. The two met, on Monday, on the sidelines of a U.N. Human Rights Council meeting in Geneva, where Kerry outlined human rights violations in Russian-annexed Crimea and eastern Ukraine. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports from Geneva.
Video

Video Smartphones May Help in Diagnosing HIV

Diagnosing infections such as HIV requires expensive clinical tests, making the procedure too costly for many poor patients or those living in remote areas. But a new technology called lab-on-a-chip may make the tests more accessible to many. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Refugees Complain of Harassment in Pakistan

Afghan officials have expressed concern over reports of a crackdown on Afghan refugees in Pakistan following the Peshawar school attack in December. Reports of mass arrests and police harassment coupled with fear of an uncertain future are making life difficult for a population that fled its homeland to escape war. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports from Islamabad.
Video

Video Ukrainian Volunteers Prepare to Defend Mariupol

Despite the ongoing ceasefire in Ukraine, soldiers in the city of Mariupol fear that pro-Russian separatists may be getting ready to attack. The separatists must take or encircle the city if they wish to gain land access to Crimea, which was annexed by Russia early last year. But Ukrainian forces, many of them volunteers, say they are determined to defend it. Patrick Wells reports from Mariupol.
Video

Video Moscow Restaurants Suffer in Bad Economy, Look for Opportunity

As low oil prices and Western sanctions force Russia's economy into recession, thousands of Moscow restaurants are expected to close their doors. Restaurant owners face rents tied to foreign currency, while rising food prices mean Russians are spending less when they dine out. One entrepreneur in Moscow has started a dinner kit delivery service for those who want to cook at home to save money but not skimp on quality. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video US, Cuba Report Progress in Latest Talks to Restore Ties

The United States and Cuba say they have made progress in the second round of talks on restoring diplomatic relations more than 50 years after breaking off ties. Delegations from both sides met in Washington on Friday to work on opening embassies in Havana and Washington and iron out key obstacles to historic change. VOA’s Mary Alice Salinas reports from the State Department.
Video

Video Presidential Hopefuls Battle for Conservative Hearts and Minds

One after another, presumptive Republican presidential contenders auditioned for conservative support this week at the Conservative Political Action Conference held outside Washington. The rhetoric was tough as a large field of potential candidates tried to woo conservative support with red-meat attacks on President Barack Obama and Democrats in Congress. VOA Political Columnist Jim Malone takes a look.
Video

Video NYC's Restaurant Week: An Economic Boom in Fine Dining

New Yorkers take pride in setting world trends — in fashion, the arts and fine dining. The city’s famous biannual Restaurant Week plays a significant role in a booming tourism industry that sustains 359,000 jobs and generates $61 billion in yearly revenue. VOA's Ramon Taylor reports.
Video

Video Brookhaven at Cutting Edge of US Energy Research

Issues like the Keystone XL pipeline, fracking and instability in the Middle East are driving debate in the U.S. about making America energy independent. Recently, the American Energy Innovation Council urged Congress and the White House to make expanded energy research a priority. One beneficiary of increased energy spending would be the Brookhaven National Lab, where clean, renewable, efficient energy is the goal. VOA's Bernard Shusman reports.
Video

Video Southern US Cities Preserve Civil Rights Heritage to Boost Tourism

There has been a surge of interest in the American civil rights movement of the 1950s and '60s, thanks in part to the Hollywood motion picture "Selma." Five decades later, communities in the South are embracing the dark chapters of their past with hopes of luring tourism dollars. VOA's Chris Simkins reports.
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 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.

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