News / Asia

Maritime Tensions Dominate ASEAN Meeting

ASEAN leaders leave after taking a group picture at the 24th ASEAN Summit in Naypyidaw, Burma, May 11, 2014.
ASEAN leaders leave after taking a group picture at the 24th ASEAN Summit in Naypyidaw, Burma, May 11, 2014.
VOA News
Maritime tensions dominated a meeting of Southeast Asian leaders Sunday in Burma, also known as Myanmar, with Vietnam calling on its neighbors for support in their territorial dispute with China.
Tensions rose last week following China's controversial decision to move an oil drilling rig into waters also claimed by Hanoi.
Vietnam's deputy foreign minister Pham Quang Vinh called for China to remove the rig.
"For us, Vietnam, we consistently are persevering in our contacts with the Chinese side at all levels in order to resolve this issue and in order to request China to withdraw their ships and their oil rig," he said.
In its final statement Sunday, leaders from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations expressed concern and called for restraint by all parties involved in the maritime disputes. ASEAN, which appeared unwilling to risk antagonizing China, also said it was satisfied with talks on the issue.
The confrontation over the Paracel islands has raised fears of growing tensions between the China and Vietnam.
Hundreds of Vietnamese rallied in the country's biggest cities on Sunday to denounce China, in rare protests that looked likely to prolong the tense stand-off.
Speaking to fellow leaders of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations at a summit in Myanmar, Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung said Vietnam had acted with “utmost restraint” and used all means of dialogue to request China remove the rig.
“But until now, China not only hasn't responded to Vietnam's rightful request but also slandered and blamed Vietnam while increasing their violations, which are becoming more dangerous and serious,” he said, in his strongest comments yet on the crisis.
Dung also urged ASEAN and other nations to “support the legal and legitimate requirements of Vietnam.”
China has accused Vietnam of intentionally colliding with its ships in the South China Sea, after Vietnam asserted that Chinese vessels used water cannons and rammed eight of its vessels at the weekend near an oil rig.
Neither Burmese President Thein Sein's opening speech nor the final statement of the summit on Sunday touched on the China-Vietnam dispute.
China's foreign ministry, in a statement late on Saturday, said the issue was not “a problem between China and ASEAN” and that it opposed certain member states trying to use it to sow discord.
“The Chinese side is always opposed to certain countries' attempts to use the South Sea issue to harm the overall friendship and cooperation between China and the ASEAN,” the statement read.
China was ready to work with ASEAN to continue implementing the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea, a statement that was agreed in 2002 to try to manage tensions in the seas, the ministry added.
China has begun official talks with ASEAN to establish maritime conduct rules for the South China Sea, but argues that territorial disputes should be discussed on a bilateral basis. It claims the entire South China Sea, putting it in conflict with Taiwan, Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia, and Brunei. The last four are ASEAN members.

Some information in this report was contributed by Reuters.

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Comment Sorting
by: Vannak from: Australia
May 12, 2014 10:54 AM
Vietnam is so greedy that take Koh Tral from Cambodia and other part along the border. China must give Vietnam to taste it's own medicine.
In Response

by: So So from: US
May 13, 2014 10:26 AM
Vannak, I feel sad and sorry for this.
Best wishes!
In Response

by: Vannak from: Australia
May 13, 2014 9:32 AM
Chinese is cruel in the east sea, Vietnam is no different in Koh Tral, peaceful but very deceptive, Vietnam install a puppet government in Cambodia then force the puppet to sign it away. See how Vietnam is peaceful, the result is the same. Vietnam stole Koh Tral from Cambodia in broad daylight without any fight. I want to tell to Vietnamese government that, once we remove the puppet government from Cambodia, we will consider lease Koh Tral to The Chines so they could come closer to Vietnam. Koh Tral belong to Cambodia for ever and you Vietnamese must stop giving false information to the tourist visiting there that it was Khmer King gave to Vietnam as a gift, that is so bad of Vietnam to do that.
In Response

by: mai xuân thanh from: việt nam
May 12, 2014 12:36 PM
viet names want peaceful, very much. because the war in viet nam has just finished for 30 years. we dont want every once must take park in war. you can see fact about china in the east Sea. china is very cruel. the most of people on the word know that < except china >

by: Andy from: USA
May 12, 2014 3:29 AM
Why is the mainland chinese so greedy? I have not seen them do any good to help other people from beginning of time to present. They are born to take, to steal, and to harass. Shame on them!

by: An Nguyen from: Singapore
May 11, 2014 10:09 PM
I think that the next stage is that countries in Asean bloc should support Vietnam in army. That is a danger if China don't see any really cooperations of bloc. They will begin to apply step-strategy of annexation without international laws. And the war...
In Response

by: Chay Xe Om from: Chicago
May 12, 2014 7:27 AM
ASEAN is not a military alliance, its main purpose is to promote economic growth and social progress. Half of its member countries are friends of China. Most if not all of its member countries (including Vietnam) are dependent heavily on trade with China.

by: harry from: australia
May 11, 2014 10:08 PM
Worry about upsetting China?Why?Do the Chinese worry about upsetting you.ASEAN has to realise that it has more clout as a bloc.Worried about business with China...well nothing to worry about as business is a 2way street.And as a bloc China should be more worried about losing business.About time ASEAN gets more strdent and assertive in dealing with China instead of appearing sheepish which encourages China to bully its smaller neighbours.

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