News / Asia

Asia Leaders to Discuss Cooperation, Rights, and Disputes With China

Cambodian government security forces walk in front of the Council of Ministers building as they patrol along a street ahead of the 21st ASEAN Summit and other related summits in Phnom Penh, November 13, 2012.
Cambodian government security forces walk in front of the Council of Ministers building as they patrol along a street ahead of the 21st ASEAN Summit and other related summits in Phnom Penh, November 13, 2012.
Daniel Schearf
Leaders in Asia will be gathering in Cambodia later this month (Nov 18-20) for a summit of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations. Territorial tensions between ASEAN members and China marred a summit in July, adding pressure to the meeting as President Obama is set to make a historic visit.

The last regional meeting of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations was considered a disappointment after the group failed, for the first time, to issue a joint statement.  
 
Many blamed China, saying it influenced Phnom Penh to block a statement that included concerns by Vietnam and the Philippines over South China Sea territorial disputes.
 
With President Obama expected at the ASEAN East Asia Summit, Ernie Bower, at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, says the gathering is an opportunity for Cambodia to pursue a more balanced foreign policy.
 
"This balance doesn’t mean balancing the United States and China," said Bower. "But it means working with all players and a recognition that ASEAN is very important. I don’t think that recognition came thru in July. So Cambodia has an opportunity - [Cambodian leader] Hun Sen has an opportunity - in November to make that point.”
 
China has stepped-up aggressive claims to island territory in the South China Sea, raising international concerns including from the United States.
 
ASEAN has been trying to negotiate a code of conduct with China to prevent conflicts.
 
But Beijing prefers to deal with ASEAN members one-on-one rather than as a group.
 
"The setback in July is a serious one because this means that there is more pressure now in November at the East Asia Summit and the sideline meetings to have a code of conduct," said Thitinan Pongsudhirak is Director of Bangkok's Institute of Security and International Studies. "So, some drama is in store because China will apply a lot of pressure. Remember that China has some domestic concerns now, they're going through a leadership transition. It's not a good time for the Chinese leadership to appear weak."
 
President Obama is being urged to push ASEAN on human rights concerns.
 
But the bloc is only expected to adopt a watered-down regional declaration of human rights at the summit.
 
Phil Robertson, Deputy Asia Director for Human Rights Watch, says the declaration is a far cry from international standards.
 
"The general principles set out a series of exemptions or loopholes based on local context, based on balancing of rights with responsibilities, based on national security or internal stability, that would limit rights in a way that the international standards do not limit rights," he said.

Robertson says President Obama should also raise Cambodia's deteriorating human rights situation when he meets with Prime Minister Hun Sen.

You May Like

Turkey's Erdogan: Women Not Equal to Men

Speaking at conference in Istanbul, President Erdogan says Islam has defined a position for women: motherhood More

Ahead of SAARC Summit, Subdued Expectations

Some regional analysts say distrust between Pakistani, Indian officials has slowed SAARC's progress over the year More

Philippines Leery of Development on Reef Reclamation in S. China Sea

Chinese land reclamation projects in area have been ongoing for years, but new satellite imagery reportedly shows China’s massive construction project More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Aung San Suu Kyi: Myanmar Opposition to Keep Pushing for Constitutional Changei
X
November 24, 2014 10:09 PM
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 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