News / Asia

Delays, Disputes Beset ASEAN Resolution of South China Seas

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Igor Morgulov, left, talks with ASEAN's Deputy Secretary-General Nyan Lynn, right, before the ASEAN-Russia Ministerial Meeting in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, July 11, 2012.Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Igor Morgulov, left, talks with ASEAN's Deputy Secretary-General Nyan Lynn, right, before the ASEAN-Russia Ministerial Meeting in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, July 11, 2012.
x
Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Igor Morgulov, left, talks with ASEAN's Deputy Secretary-General Nyan Lynn, right, before the ASEAN-Russia Ministerial Meeting in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, July 11, 2012.
Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Igor Morgulov, left, talks with ASEAN's Deputy Secretary-General Nyan Lynn, right, before the ASEAN-Russia Ministerial Meeting in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, July 11, 2012.
Irwin Loy
PHNOM PENH — Senior ministers from Southeast Asia continue to push forward on delicate negotiations on the South China Sea during this week's high-level regional meetings in Cambodia. But delegates to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) ministers' meetings on Wednesday appeared to reach a stumbling block. 

Delegates have publicly downplayed tensions about the South China Sea dispute. But officials acknowledged Wednesday there was disagreement from some members over the wording of a joint ASEAN statement on the issue.

Marty Natalegawa is Indonesia's foreign minister.

"At the same time there is a parallel process - parallel and yet interlinked - on how to capture ASEAN’s views on the recent developments in the South China Sea. The recent worrying developments in the South China Sea," he said.

ASEAN members Vietnam, the Philippines, Brunei and Malaysia all claim parts of the South China Sea. This puts them at odds with China, which also claims a large swath of the body of water.


Standoffs in the area in recent months, including an April incident between a Philippines warship and Chinese vessels, have added a sense of urgency to this week's negotiations.

Any joint statement must reflect this, but also move the countries forward, said
Natalegawa

"We simply, we need to capture how we feel in terms of what the situation has been in the past, but more importantly to more forward. It’s very important for us to express our concern with what had happened, whether it be at the shoals, whether it be at the continental shelves ..., but more importantly than simply responding to the past is to move forward to ensure that these kinds of events no longer recur," he said.

The debate coming into this week's meetings was how ASEAN members would go about presenting a united approach to negotiations on a long awaited Code of Conduct with China.  ASEAN ministers announced this week they had moved forward with "key elements" of a code of conduct, yet even this appears unlikely to satisfy all parties.

The Philippines for example, has long insisted on including a dispute mechanism within the code. China, on the other hand, has made it clear that it wants to settle territorial disagreements on a one-on-one basis.

Hammering out a code of conduct may reaffirm each party's ultimate goal of cooling down tensions and avoiding armed conflict. But whether it represents a long-term solution to the disagreements is questionable.

Still, ASEAN Secretary General Surin Pitsuwan said bloc members realize how important it is to resolve the maritime dispute while it's in the public eye.

"Issues of South China Sea is certainly one issue that I think they want to explore further," he said. "The issues and the ways in which to handle because the world is paying attention to us, because the world is expecting some soothing message, message of confidence, message of hope out of here that we are indeed working together in order to manage the situation. So I think in good faith, in good will, we want to be better prepared."
 
The ASEAN meetings reach a peak with Thursday's ASEAN Regional Forum, which will include senior delegates from the bloc's many dialogue partners, including the United States.

You May Like

Cambodia Seeks Official UN Maps for Vietnam Border

Notice of request comes as 2 countries open border talks Tuesday after a clash last month More

From South Africa to Vietnam, Cyclists Deliver Message Against Rhino Horns

Appalled by poaching they saw firsthand, sisters embark on tour to raise awareness in countries where rhino horn products are in demand More

Uber Wants Johannesburg Police Protection

Request follows recent protests outside ride-hailing service's Johannesburg office More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Sarah from: Florida
July 11, 2012 4:14 PM
Hopefully they go to every extent to avoid armed conflict. I wonder if countries will ever be able to solve their disputes online through a site like www.eQuibbly.com. It would save a lot of money for these countries.
In Response

by: Nantasarn Seesalab from: Bangkok,Thailand
July 12, 2012 11:23 PM
After Secretary of Sate and Foreign Minister of China meeting, it can be said that the issue of the South China Sea can be eased through participation of the USA and China based on the ASEAN Code of Conduct. It is difficult to solve the conflict on bilateral basis as proposed by China due to a number of conflicting partners.
In Response

by: hyoae from: Wu
July 12, 2012 2:08 AM
The name is South China Sea. It is can be believed that this part really belongs to China in ancient. Otherwise, why this part this sea is named South China Sea.
In Response

by: @ Sarah
July 11, 2012 7:34 PM
Chinese solves their disputes by guns only, not chatting on line.

by: Anonymous
July 11, 2012 3:58 PM
The bad guys (China) have big guns, the good guys (ASEAN) have big mouths. What can we expect ??? The robbers try to rob, the victims try not to give up , not even an inch of land and sea. What can we expect ??? South China Sea may become a new killing field.
In Response

by: Nam from: Vietnam
July 12, 2012 4:27 AM
Let's GO. Animals. Please DO NOT USE your words to threathen weak people

by: Hilaily from: Sanghai
July 11, 2012 1:59 PM
Vietnamese communist, don't mislead the world, you Vietnamese as a stateless, all your land is robbed from Champa, Cambodia or Khmer Krom. You communist Vietnam, very fast to forget the history that We China used to and will crash you under our yoke again if you want a fight.
In Response

by: remie from: canada
July 12, 2012 8:03 AM
@Hillaily,Yes vietnam did take some land from Cambodia and acknowledge it in their history. But u Chinese take land from India, Vietnam, Laos, Tibet, etc... and lie in ur history and say it is yours from beginning. Ur History is fake and lie about winning wars. Bring on fight and we will see 1.3 billion weak crumble like real history says.
In Response

by: Hoang from: Canada
July 12, 2012 6:41 AM
If war results, it is China who will suffers most.
Both Vietnamese and Chinese Communists are robbers.
Vietnam liberated Cambodia from genocide Kmer Rouge and presently does not occupy Cambodia. China has been robbing Vietnamese territories for centuries. Resolve South China Sea through international court. There is ample evidence Hoang Sa (Paracel) and Truong Sa(Spratly) islands belong to Vietnam. China robbed them from Vietnam in 1974 and 1988.
In Response

by: Anonymous from: Yiwu
July 11, 2012 9:04 PM
Vietnam———A country that has lost history totally!
In Response

by: Eyesonu from: New Planet
July 11, 2012 8:19 PM
I strongly agree with you 100% Hallay. Vietnamese communist has a piece of land called Hanoi (known as Dai Viet). The rest used to be long to the Cambodia and Champa. So, Vietnamese communist must be out...!

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
New Implant Could Help Restore Movement to Paralyzed Limbsi
|| 0:00:00
...    
🔇
X
Maia Pujara
July 07, 2015 10:01 PM
A half-million people suffer spinal cord injuries each year because of car accidents, serious falls and diseases, according to the World Health Organization. Researchers are now working on a soft but strong spinal cord implant that could one day restore movement in paralyzed individuals. VOA’s Maia Pujara reports.
Video

Video New Implant Could Help Restore Movement to Paralyzed Limbs

A half-million people suffer spinal cord injuries each year because of car accidents, serious falls and diseases, according to the World Health Organization. Researchers are now working on a soft but strong spinal cord implant that could one day restore movement in paralyzed individuals. VOA’s Maia Pujara reports.
Video

Video Getting it Done Beyond a Nuclear Deal

If a nuclear deal is reached between Iran and world powers in Vienna, it will be a highly technical road map to be used to monitor nuclear activity in Iran for years to come to ensure Tehran does not make nuclear weapons. Equally as complicated will be dismantling international sanctions that were originally intended to be ironclad. VOA’s Heather Murdock talks to experts about the key challenges any deal will present.
Video

Video Rice Farmers Frustrated As Drought Grips Thailand

A severe drought in Thailand is limiting the growing season of the country’s important rice crop. Farmers are blaming the government for not doing more to protect a key export. Steve Sandford reports from Chiang Mai, Thailand.
Video

Video Making Music, Fleeing Bombs: New Film on Sudan’s Internal Refugees

In 2012, Sudanese filmmaker Hajooj Kuka went to make a documentary among civil war refugees in Sudan’s Blue Nile and Nuba Mountains region. What he found surprised him: music was helping to save people from bombing raids by their own government. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video 'From This Day Forward' Reveals Difficult Journey of Transgender Parent

In her documentary, "From This Day Forward", filmmaker Sharon Shattuck reveals the personal journey of her transgender father, as he told his family that he always felt he was a woman inside and decided to live as one. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Floodwaters Threaten Iconic American Home

The Farnsworth House in the Midwest State of Illinois is one of the most iconic homes in America. Thousands of tourists visit the site every year. Its location near a river inspired the design of the house, but, as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, that very location is now threatening the existence of this National Historic Landmark.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.

VOA Blogs