News / Asia

Kerry Urges ASEAN, China to Resolve S. China Sea Dispute Without Force

Kerry Urges ASEAN, China to Resolve South China Sea Dispute Without Forcei
X
September 29, 2013 7:30 PM
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry says China and Southeast Asian nations should resolve territorial disputes in the South China Sea without threats or force. VOA State Department correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations on U.S. efforts to work more closely with Indonesia to help mediate those rival maritime claims.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry says China and Southeast Asian nations should resolve territorial disputes in the South China Sea without threats or force.  The U.S. is making an effort to work more closely with Indonesia to help mediate those rival maritime claims.

Southeast Asia is home to some of the world's busiest ports and most critical sea lanes, so stability there matters deeply to prosperity abroad, says Kerry.

"It matters around the worldm" he said. "That’s one of the reasons why the United States is so committed to maritime security, to the freedom of navigation on the seas, and to resolving the disputes with respect to territory and achieving a code of conduct with respect to that."

A code of conduct is critical to unimpeded lawful commerce, Kerry told a meeting of foreign ministers from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, or ASEAN.

"That’s why China and ASEAN should move as swiftly as possible to reach a binding code of conduct for addressing disputes without threats, without coercion, and without use of force," he said.

China is facing competing claims in the South China Sea from the Philippines, Malaysia, Vietnam, Brunei, and Taiwan.  But the disputes affect different ASEAN members differently, diluting the urgency of a code of conduct, says Asia analyst Michael Auslin.

"You don't have unanimity on the part of ASEAN behind the scenes to say this is our top-drawer issue," he said. "There are some who think it's crucial.  And there are others who say it's not as important, and so the longer it drags out, the easier it is for us to avoid a day of reckoning with China."

As part of its so-called "Asia Pivot," the United States is boosting military and commercial activity, which contributes to stability, says Burmese Foreign Minister Wunna Maung Lwin.

"We appreciate very much the United States government on a strong, secure, and prosperous Southeast Asia." Lwin said. "The positive stance of the Untied States has promoted peace, stability, and prosperity."

As part of talks on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly, Kerry met with Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa of Indonesia.  Jakarta is central to resolving South China Sea disputes, says Auslin.

"From the eastern Indian Ocean to the Western Pacific, you don't get more strategically positioned than that in terms of the sets of concerns that it has to deal with," he said. "Whether it's piracy, whether it's proliferation, narcotics trafficking, the rise of the Chinese navy and military or the like, Indonesia is the centrally located country."

Washington is selling Jakarta eight Apache attack helicopters for $500 million, an upgrade that Indonesia says reflects greater military investments across the region.

The Philippines is modernizing its navy and has one of the most contentious maritime claims with China, making Indonesia's involvement all the more important, says Auslin.

"There are deep divisions within ASEAN.  The view of the Philippines, for example, over territorial issues is very different from Indonesia," he said. "And the reason Indonesia can play a broker's role is because they don't have any of the territorial disputes with China."

The Philippines is taking its case against China to the U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea.  But Beijing is rejecting Manila's push for international arbitration.

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