News / Asia

Indonesian FM Stresses Need for Dialogue on South China Sea

Indonesian Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa, September 28, 2012.
Indonesian Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa, September 28, 2012.
Kate Lamb
After a year of tension involving maritime territorial disputes in Asia, Indonesia's foreign minister is stressing the need for more dialogue - especially with recent political transitions in Washington and Beijing and new administrations possible in Seoul and Tokyo.
 
After the Association of Southeast Asian Nations failed to reach a broad consensus on a framework for resolving disputes in the South China Sea, regional countries have been adopting their own policies to address the uncertainty.  

The Chinese province of Hainan recently announced that it would allow the interception of ships in the contested area. China also created controversy when it issued passports with a map that includes the disputed territories as Chinese land.
 
The moves generated a backlash in Vietnam and the Philippines and now India is also weighing in.
 
The Indian Navy has suggested it is prepared to defend its joint oil interests from Chinese aggression.
 
A key mediator in the regional maritime power play, Indonesian Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa says that adopting a set of guidelines is now more important than ever.
 
"We are seeing a lot of political transitions in capitals in our region, of course the United States has gone through its political transition period,  as well in China. And soon enough, we will have elections in Japan, in Korea so it is a state of flux, of course not just between countries, but within those concerned as well. So we need to have to some kind of certainty, some benchmark," Natalegawa explained. "A code of conduct by which we can address issues of common interest within our region."
 
Natalegawa has consistently rallied regional leaders to agree to a code of conduct.
 
But, when the proposal was rejected at the ASEAN summit this November, analysts said Indonesia had overestimated its diplomatic clout.
 
Acknowledging that talk of norms and guidelines has led to some pre-preemptive moves on the ground and at sea, the foreign minister says he is confident about the region’s future.
 
He argues that decades of regional stability have led to a clear economic dividend - one that is in the interests of all parties to maintain.
 
But Aleksius Jemadu, dean of global affairs at Jakarta’s Pelita Harapan University says that convincing China will be no easy task. 

"The problem is can you persuade China to part of it or to be committed to it when it has to emphasize its strategic interests, that is the problem," said Jemadu. "First it is about strategic interests, the continuation of energy security for China, second is about territorial integrity. Third is about pride as a new superpower. China is not going to be bullied again by other major powers.”
 
ASEAN members Vietnam, Brunei, Malaysia, Taiwan, and the Philippines, all claim parts of the energy-rich sea. But China maintains that is has sovereignty over almost the entire sea.
 
Home to some of the world’s busiest shipping lanes, the South China Sea is also believed to be rich in oil and gas.

You May Like

Analyst: Joint-Arab Military Force Poses Perilous Challenge

Although international forces are desperately needed to counter the threat of the Islamic State group, analysts say conflicting alliances could escalate fighting More

Asia’s Middle Class Changes Demand for Wheat Grain Exporters

Changes in tastes and diets are boon for wheat exporters such as Australia and the United States More

S. African Comedian Taking Over Popular TV Show

Mixed-race comedian Trevor Noah, who is loved for his edgy jibes about race and language, is taking the helm from Jon Stewart at The Daily Show in US More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: bryc from: islamabad
December 11, 2012 7:06 AM
Taiwan is a province of china.

by: TruLeaf from: Canada
December 11, 2012 12:06 AM
Not only do all members of ASEAN need to have a broad consensus, the whole world should speak with one voice against this ever growing aggression from China. If China has convincing evidence for their territorial claims, give them to the international community and let them decide. As mighty as the Nazi once was, still it was brought to its knees by a united world and China should take a page from the history and abandon its rapacious appetite for world hegemony. The people of China should realize that Zhongnanhai is taking them down to the dangerous path of nationalism, war and destruction and do something about it. Make sure there won’t be another version of pastor Martin-Niemöller's:

First they came for the Paracels/ Spratlys,
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a Vietnamese

Then they came for the Scaborough Shoal,
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a Filipino

Then they came for the Senkaku,
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a Japanese

Then they came for me,
and there was no one left to speak for me.

UNITED WE STAND!

by: SEATO
December 10, 2012 6:16 PM
It is a waste of time talking to or persuading China to agree to some Codes of Conduct because that would legally restrict them in their attempts to seize by force land and sea areas which are under other countries' administration. Any appeal for dialogue to China would be seen as sign of weakness and fears. With America still too reluctant to get involved and ASEAN countries too divided, China knew it could terrorise and intimidate its neighbours into submission. An increasingly powerful and assertive China who has no respect for laws and reasons,but plenty of war tendencies,is a threat to all mankind. With America untrustworthy as proven since the Vietnam war, South East Asia's future could only be secured by a South East Asian Treaty Organisation like NATO with India and Japan at the helm. A more assertive and resolute Japan and India would be beneficial to world stability and an effective deterrence to China's territorial ambitions
In Response

by: Quintus from: China
December 11, 2012 10:20 AM
I think that maybe you dont understand Chinese culture and people as Chinese people know yours. nobody wants to start a war besides China, the people there wish peaceful and stable life. Chinese want to be friends with the people all over the word. If you have more acquaintance about Chinese people, maybe you will change your mind. Because of my poor English, i cant state my idea deeply and clearly.
In Response

by: Kamikaze from: Japan
December 11, 2012 5:34 AM
Every country must be aware of Chinese aggression not only by its military forces but also by its economical trap. China makes a tender face in front of countries in distress, offering bubble money to lure them; however, once China succeeds to win them around to its side, it makes a monstrous face. By that time, China has robbed the countries of all resources including lands. U.S, Japan, and other countries must unite to eliminate this monstrous country, i.e., Communist China, from the world.
In Response

by: Ian from: USA
December 10, 2012 9:00 PM
A very wise comment .
I agree that the best time to deal with any future potential problem for the southeast asian countries & Japan is to join force now instead hoping for a better behaviour from the agressor . It will only gets worse .

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadistsi
X
Greg Flakus
March 30, 2015 6:48 PM
At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadists

At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video With Coalition Airstrikes, Iraq Entering 'Last Page' of IS Battle

American warplanes joined Iraq's battle against the so-called 'Islamic State' in northern Iraq late Wednesday, as Iraqi ground troops launched a massive assault on Tikrit. Analysts say the offensive could take the coalition a step further towards Mosul, the largest city held by Islamic State forces. Others say it could also deepen already-dangerous sectarian tensions in the region. VOA's Heather Murdock has more from Cairo.
Video

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Tourism is a multi-billion dollar industry in the Philippines. Close to five million foreign visitors traveled there last year, perhaps lured by the country’s tropical beaches. But Jason Strother reports from Manila that the country hopes to entice more travelers to stay indoors and spend money inside new casinos.
Video

Video Civilian Casualties Push Men to Join Rebels in Ukraine

The continued fighting in eastern Ukraine and the shelling of civilian neighborhoods seem to be pushing more men to join the separatist fighters. Many of the new recruits are residents of Ukraine made bitter by new grievances, as well as old. VOA's Patrick Wells reports.
Video

Video Islamic State Prisoners Talk of Curiosity, God, Regret

Islamic State fighter, a prisoner of Kurdish YPG forces, asked his family asking for forgiveness: "I destroyed myself and I destroyed them along with me." The Syrian youth was one of two detainees who spoke to VOA’s Kurdish Service about the path they chose; their names have been changed and identifying details obscured. VOA's Zana Omer reports.
Video

Video Germanwings Findings Raise Issue of Psychological Testing for Pilots

More is being discovered about the co-pilot in the crash of Germanwings Flight 9525 in the French Alps. Investigators say he was hiding a medical condition, raising questions about the mental qualifications of pilots. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.
Video

Video Hi-tech Motorbike Helmet's Goal: Improve Road Safety

In cities with heavily congested traffic, people can get around much faster on a motorcycle than in a car. But a rider who is not sure of his route may have to stop to look at the map or consult a GPS. A Russian start-up company is working to make navigation easier for motorcyclists. Designers at Moscow-based LiveMap are developing a smart helmet with a built-in navigation system, head-mounted display and voice recognition. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video DOJ: Illinois National Guard Soldier Tried to Join ISIS

U.S. federal law enforcement agents arrested two suburban Chicago men accused of trying to join ISIS overseas, while also plotting attacks in the United States. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports from the Midwest state of Illinois, one of those arrested is a soldier of the Illinois National Guard.
Video

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Traditional push-rim wheelchairs create a lot of stress for arm, shoulder and neck muscles and joints. A redesigned chair, based on readily available bicycle technology, radically increases mobility while reducing the physical effort. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.

VOA Blogs

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