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

Video Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said To Be Improving

Experimental drugs have been tried on six people: three Westerners and now, three African pyhysicians More

Video In Ukraine, Fear and Distrust Remain Where Fighting has Stopped

As Ukrainian military reclaims control of eastern cities residents rebuild their lives, but many say everyone is being treated with suspicion More

Video In Rural Kenya, Pressure Builds Against Female Circumcision

Girls learn to object; FGM practitioners face penalties from jail sentences to stiff fines More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said to Be Improvingi
X
Carol Pearson
August 19, 2014 11:43 PM
The World Health Organization has approved the use of experimental treatments for Ebola patients in West Africa. The Ebola outbreak there is unprecedented, the disease deadly. The number of people who have died from Ebola has surpassed 1,200. VOA's Carol Pearson reports on the ethical considerations of allowing experimental drugs to be used.
Video

Video Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said to Be Improving

The World Health Organization has approved the use of experimental treatments for Ebola patients in West Africa. The Ebola outbreak there is unprecedented, the disease deadly. The number of people who have died from Ebola has surpassed 1,200. VOA's Carol Pearson reports on the ethical considerations of allowing experimental drugs to be used.
Video

Video In Ukraine, Fear and Distrust Remain Where Fighting has Stopped

As the Ukrainian military reclaims control of eastern cities from pro-Russian separatists, residents are getting a chance to rebuild their lives. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the town of Kramatorsk in Donetsk province, where a sense of fear is still in the air, and distrust of the government in Kyiv still runs deep.
Video

Video China Targets Overseas Assets of Corrupt Officials

As China presses forward with its anti-graft effort, authorities are targeting corrupt officials who have sent family members and assets overseas. The efforts have stirred up a debate at home on exactly how many officials take that route and how likely it is they will be caught. Rebecca Valli has this report.
Video

Video Leading The Fight Against Islamic State, Kurds Question Iraqi Future

Western countries including the United States have begun arming the Kurdish Peshmerga forces in northern Iraq to aid their battle against extremist Sunni militants from the Islamic State. But there are concerns that a heavily-armed Kurdistan Regional Government, or KRG, might seek to declare independence and cause the break-up of the Iraqi state. As Henry Ridgwell reports from London, the KRG says it will only seek greater autonomy from Baghdad.
Video

Video In Rural Kenya, Pressure Builds Against Female Circumcision

In some Kenyan communities, female genital mutilation remains a rite of passage. But activists are pushing back, with education for girls and with threats of punishment those who perform the circumcision. Mohammed Yusuf looks at the practice in the rural eastern community of Tharaka-Nithi.
Video

Video For Obama, Racial Violence is Personal Issue

The racial violence in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson is presenting U.S. President Barack Obama with an issue to which he has a deep personal connection. To many Americans, Obama's election as America's first black president marked a turning point in race relations in the United States, and Obama has made ending the violence a policy priority. On Monday he issued a new call for calm and understanding. Luis Ramirez reports from the White House.
Video

Video Clinton-Obama Relationship Could Impact 2016 Election

President Barack Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton have a long and complicated relationship. That relationship took another turn recently when Clinton criticized the president’s foreign policy. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports there is renewed attention on the Clinton-Obama relationship as Hillary Clinton considers running for
Video

Video Iran Looks to Maintain Influence in Baghdad With New Shia PM

Washington and Tehran share the goal of stopping Syrian-based militants in Iraq. But experts say it's Iran, not the United States, that will most influence how the new government in Baghdad approaches internal reforms and the war in Syria. VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns has the story.

AppleAndroid