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

On Everest, Helicopters Rescue Stranded Climbers

Choppers transport some of more than 100 mountaineers trapped after deadly quake, avalanches More

Video Ten Years After Riots, France Searches for Answers to Neglected Suburbs

In 2005, a Paris suburb exploded into violence after two teenagers were electrocuted as they hid from police; since then, somethings have changed, others not More

US, Japan Announce Historic Revision of Defense Cooperation Guidelines

Nations say new guidelines will be 'cornerstone for peace and security' in Asia-Pacific region while also serving as 'platform for a more stable international security environment' 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.
‘Angel of the Migrants’ Helps Desperate Syrians Arriving in Europei
X
Henry Ridgwell
April 26, 2015 10:36 PM
Waves of migrants are continuing to arrive on the shores of southern Italy from North Africa. After their dangerous journey across the Mediterranean, they face an unknown future in Europe. In the Sicilian city of Catania there is an activist dedicated to helping the refugees on their journey.
Video

Video ‘Angel of the Migrants’ Helps Desperate Syrians Arriving in Europe

Waves of migrants are continuing to arrive on the shores of southern Italy from North Africa. After their dangerous journey across the Mediterranean, they face an unknown future in Europe. In the Sicilian city of Catania there is an activist dedicated to helping the refugees on their journey.
Video

Video Ten Years After Riots, France Searches for Answers to Neglected Suburbs

January’s terrorist attacks and fears of more to come are casting a spotlight on France’s neglected suburbs. Home to many immigrants, and sometimes hubs of crime, they were rocked by rioting a decade ago. Lisa Bryant visited the Paris suburb of Clichy-sous-Bois, where the 2005 violence first broke out, and has this report about what has changed and what has not.
Video

Video Gay Marriage Goes Before US Supreme Court

This week, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments on whether gay people have a constitutional right to marriage. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, the case could lead to the nationwide legalization of same-sex marriage, or a continuation of the status quo in which individual states decide whether to recognize gay unions.
Video

Video Study: Insecticide Damaging Wild Bee Populations

A popular but controversial type of insecticide is damaging important wild bee populations, according to a new study. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Data Servers Could Heat Private Homes

As every computer owner knows, when their machines run a complex program they get pretty hot. In fact, cooling the processors can be expensive, especially when you're dealing with huge banks of computer servers. But what if that energy could heat private homes? VOA’s George Putic reports that a Dutch energy firm aims to do just that.
Video

Video Cinema That Crosses Borders Showcased at Tribeca Film Festival

Among the nearly 100 feature length films being shown at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival in New York City are more than 20 documentaries and features with international appeal, from a film about a Congolese businessman in China, to documentaries shot in Pakistan and diaspora communities in the U.S., to a poetic look at disaffected South African youth. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video UN Confronts Threat of Young Radicals

The radicalization and recruitment of young people into Islamist extremist groups has become a growing challenge for governments worldwide. On Thursday, the U.N. Security Council heard from experts on the issue, which has become a potent threat to international peace and security. VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports.
Video

Video Growing Numbers of Turks Discover Armenian Ancestry

In a climate of improved tolerance, growing numbers of people in Turkey are discovering their grandmothers were Armenian. Hundreds of thousands of Armenians escaped the mass deportations and slaughter of the early 1900's by forced conversion to Islam. Or, Armenian children were taken in by Turkish families and assimilated. Now their stories are increasingly being heard. Dorian Jones reports from Istanbul that the revelations are viewed as an important step.
Video

Video Migrants Trek Through Western Balkans to Reach EU

Migrants from Africa and other places are finding different routes into the European Union in search of a better life. The Associated Press followed one clandestine group to document their trek through the western Balkans to Hungary. Zlatica Hoke reports that the migrants started using that route about four years ago. Since then, it has become the second-most popular path into Western Europe, after the option of sailing from North Africa to Italy.
Video

Video US Businesses See Cuba as New Frontier

The Obama administration's opening toward Cuba is giving U.S. companies hope they'll be able to do business in Cuba despite the continuation of the U.S. economic embargo against the communist nation. Some American companies have been able to export some products to Cuba, but the recent lifting of Cuba's terrorism designation could relax other restrictions. As VOA's Daniela Schrier reports, corporate heavy hitters are lining up to head across the Florida Straits - though experts urge caution.
Video

Video Kenya Launches Police Recruitment Drive After Terror Attacks

Kenya launched a major police recruitment drive this week as part of a large-scale effort to boost security following a recent spate of terror attacks. VOA’s Gabe Joselow reports that allegations of corruption in the process are raising old concerns about the integrity of Kenya’s security forces.
Video

Video Japan, China in Race for Asia High-Speed Rail Projects

A lucrative competition is underway in Asia for billions of dollars in high-speed rail projects. Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Malaysia Thailand and Vietnam are among the countries planning to move onto the fast track. They are negotiating with Japan and the upstart Chinese who are locked in a duel to revolutionize transportation across Asia. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok has details.
Video

Video Scientists: Mosquitoes Attracted By Our Genes

Some people always seem to get bitten by mosquitoes more than others. Now, scientists have proved that is really the case - and they say it’s all because of genes. It’s hoped the research might lead to new preventative treatments for diseases like malaria, as Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Bible Museum Coming to Washington DC

Washington is the center of American political power and also home to some of the nation’s most visited museums. A new one that will showcase the Bible has skeptics questioning the motives of its conservative Christian funders. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Afghan First Lady Pledges No Roll Back on Women's Rights

Afghan First Lady Rula Ghani, named one of Time's 100 Most Influential, says women should take part in talks with Taliban. VOA's Rokhsar Azamee has more from Kabul.

VOA Blogs