News / Asia

Indonesia Working to Soothe South China Sea Tensions

Indonesia Working to Soothe South China Sea Tensionsi
|| 0:00:00
...    
🔇
X
Scott Stearns
August 03, 2012 12:00 AM
In all the anger over rival claims to the South China Sea, Indonesia has emerged as a voice of calm, working to mediate a dispute involving China, Vietnam, the Philippines, Taiwan, and Malaysia. VOA State Department correspondent Scott Stearns has the story.
Indonesia Working to Soothe South China Sea Tensions
WASHINGTON — In all the anger over rival claims to the South China Sea, Indonesia has emerged as a voice of calm, working to mediate a dispute involving China, Vietnam, the Philippines, Taiwan, and Malaysia.

Chinese patrols in waters that Vietnam and the Philippines also claim have heightened tensions in the mineral-rich South China Sea.

Vietnamese protestors condemn what they call a Chinese invasion over Beijing's decision to take bids for oil blocks off Vietnam's coast. Hanoi has passed a law claiming sovereignty over disputed islands.

The division is so deep it blocked a unified statement from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations for the first time in the group's history.

"The relationships between China and ASEAN countries are multidimensional. They should not be spoiled by the South China Sea issue," said ASEAN spokesman Danny Lee.

Into these troubled waters comes Indonesian Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa, working to keep ASEAN from splitting.

"ASEAN continues to remain to be united, to be cohesive on all issues of common concern, not least, and especially on the issue of South China Sea," Natalegawa said.

From Phnom Penh to Manila to Bangkok to Hanoi, Natalegwa is pushing a regional framework to resolve the rival maritime claims.

"We do actually need a Code of Conduct for the South China Sea, some kind of rule of the road type of regime so that potential for conflicts in the region can be managed and, even more, betters the potential for conflict can (to) be resolved," Natalegawa said.

As Southeast Asia's biggest country, Indonesia's neutrality is helping cool some tempers.

"They really are sort of at the fulcrum of this, trying to remain in the center, wherever the center may be. I imagine that will continue going forward. Their status has really risen as a result of their diplomacy," said Justin Logan, who directs foreign policy studies at the U.S. Cato Institute.

Logan says Indonesian mediation is especially important as China opens a military garrison on an island Vietnam and Taiwan claim.

"And I do think that they (Indonesians) have remained sort of the anchor in the center as other countries have more or less drifted away from that center," Logan said.

Senior U.S. officials say Indonesia has been instrumental not only in keeping open prospects for talks over the South China Sea but also in encouraging Burma's military to enact political and economic reforms that helped to bring opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi to parliament.

You May Like

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. More

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

Dropout rate at an all-time high in South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during 3-year civil war More

Tennessee Songbirds Fly Coop Long Before Tornadoes Arrive

Researchers say birds apparently alerted to danger by sounds at frequencies below range of human hearing More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Matthew from: Canada
August 03, 2012 1:54 AM
Thank you Indonesia.Now if only the world would cooperate together and benefit greatly instead of squabbling...


by: Lu Pet from: Beijing
August 02, 2012 9:53 PM
China also own Indonesia. We visited this country since ancient times. After we take the sea we will take your country. >: . You indonesian do not match Chinese.... Stop meddling on our affair...


by: Jonathan Huang from: canada
August 02, 2012 9:46 PM
Good job, seems China finally persuaded Indonesia to stand on her side. Two sides just agree to extend military drills and cooperation. With Cambodia and Indonesia's help plus Taiwan's, China can beat the crap out of Viets and Finos. Divide and rule is the gold strategy.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US: Response to Sony Hack Will Be Proportionali
X
Aru Pande
December 19, 2014 1:45 AM
The White House says President Barack Obama considers the cyberattack on Sony Corp. a serious national security matter and that the U.S. will counter with an "appropriate response." VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports.
Video

Video US: Response to Sony Hack Will Be Proportional

The White House says President Barack Obama considers the cyberattack on Sony Corp. a serious national security matter and that the U.S. will counter with an "appropriate response." VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Putin Says Russian Economy Will Emerge Stronger

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said his country's sinking economy will not only recover but also become stronger, despite falling oil prices and Western sanctions over Ukraine. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Detained Turkish Journalists Follow Teachings of US-Based Preacher

The Turkish government’s jailing of critical journalists has sparked international condemnation and is being seen as an effort to undermine the followers of an ailing Turkish preacher based in the United States. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.

All About America

AppleAndroid