News / Asia

ASEAN Summit: Philippines Upbeat on Steps to Resolve Sea Dispute

Philippine President Benigno Aquino (R) chats to Philippine Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario (L) during the 9th Brunei-Indonesia-Malaysia-Philippines East ASEAN Growth Area (BIMP-EAGA), Apr. 25, 2013.
Philippine President Benigno Aquino (R) chats to Philippine Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario (L) during the 9th Brunei-Indonesia-Malaysia-Philippines East ASEAN Growth Area (BIMP-EAGA), Apr. 25, 2013.
Simone Orendain
Senior officials from the Philippines say they came away from this week’s summit of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in Brunei with a favorable outlook on the group’s steps to resolve territorial disputes in the South China Sea. 

Philippine Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario said the South China Sea was a “major topic” at the 10-country gathering.  

Del Rosario recounted to reporters in Manila Friday that coming up with a binding Code of Conduct on handling the competing claims with China was a recurring theme.

“As far as the presence of the 10-member states, I got the impression, a very distinct, good, positive, impression that we were solid, there was solidarity in terms of readiness to convince China that we should move on with the COC,” Rosario said.

This was a contrast to last July, when for the first time, the group did not release a joint statement because of disagreement over how to deal with disputes in the South China Sea.  At the time, the Philippines had just negotiated a tense confrontation with China over a shoal that the Philippines says is part of its territory.

China and Taiwan claim practically the entire sea.  The Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia and Brunei have partial claims to it.  The waters have some of the most heavily traveled shipping lanes, are important to fishermen and have potentially huge hydrocarbon reserves.

In 2002, ASEAN and China signed a non-binding agreement to manage the disputes through peaceful means.  But they have been unable to reach agreement on a legally binding Code of Conduct.

In January, Philippine authorities took the territorial dispute to an international tribunal under the U.N. convention on the Law of the Sea. On Friday, China’s foreign ministry repeated that it would never give up its claims and looks forward to resolving the disputes through negotiations.

The summit this week was the first major ASEAN gathering for this year’s host nation Brunei.

Immediately following the summit Thursday ASEAN chair Brunei Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah noted to reporters the improvement over the last time the group talked about the issue.  

"We have had a good discussion among leaders and there has been some progress since last year, we have agreed on what I see as a two-step approach," he noted. "Firstly, the overlapping claims are for the claimant states to deal with. Secondly, both ASEAN and China wish to promote a calm and peaceful atmosphere and to urgently work on the code of conduct."

China has consistently expressed a preference for dealing with the territorial squabbles one-on-one.  The Philippines and some other ASEAN countries have sought to make it an international issue.

Later this year, Beijing is hosting a senior foreign ministers’ meeting with ASEAN members.  Del Rosario said member-state Thailand this week proposed a pre-meeting gathering among ASEAN foreign ministers to reinforce their solidarity on the issue before they talk to China.

You May Like

Video Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land In French Port

The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching 'Fortress Europe' More

Video Westgate Mall Attack Survivors Confront Painful Memories

On anniversary of terror attack, survivors discuss how they have coped with trauma they experienced that day More

New Hints That Dark Matter Exists

New evidence from International Space Station hints at existence of dark matter and dark energy More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Andy from: USA
April 27, 2013 2:38 AM
Why is China always the problem?

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calaisi
X
Lisa Bryant
September 19, 2014 5:04 PM
The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calais

The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Westgate Siege Anniversary Brings Back Painful Memories

One year after it happened, the survivors of the terror attack on Nairobi's Westgate Shopping Mall still cannot shake the images of that tragic incident. For VOA, Mohammed Yusuf tells the story of victims still waiting for the answer to the question 'how could this happen?'
Video

Video Militant Assault in Syria Displaces Thousands of Kurds

A major assault by Islamic State militants on Kurds in Syria has sent a wave of new refugees to the Turkish border, where they were stopped by Turkish border security. Turkey is already hosting about 700,000 Syrian refugees who fled the civil war between the government and the opposition. But the government in Ankara has a history of strained relations with Turkey's Kurdish minority. Zlatica Hoke reports Turkey is asking for international help.
Video

Video CERN Accelerator Back in Business

The long upgrade of the Large Hadron Collider is over. The scientific instrument responsible for the discovery of the Higgs boson -- the so-called "God particle" -- is being brought up to speed in time for this month's 60th anniversary of the European Organization for Nuclear Research, known by its French acronym CERN. Physicists hope the accelerator will help them uncover more secrets about the origins of the universe. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

The International Whaling Commission, meeting in Slovenia, has voted to uphold a court ruling banning Japan from hunting whales in the Antarctic Ocean. Conservationists hailed the ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Russian Economy Reeling After New Western Sanctions

A new wave of Western sanctions is hitting Russia’s economy hard. State-owned energy firms continue to bleed profits and Russia’s national currency plunged to a new low this week after the U.S. and the European Union announced new sanctions to punish Russia's aggressive stance in eastern Ukraine. But as Mil Arcega reports, the sanctions could also prove costly for European and American companies.
Video

Video Belgian Researchers Discover Way to Block Cancer Metastasis

Cancer remains one of the deadliest diseases, despite many new methods to combat it. Modern medicine has treatments to prevent the growth of primary tumor cells. But most cancer deaths are caused by metastasis, the stage when primary tumor cells change and move to other parts of the body. A team of Belgian scientists says it has found a way to prevent that process. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Mogadishu's Flood of Foreign Workers Leaves Somalis Out of Work

Unemployment and conflict has forced many young Somalians out of the country in search of a better life. But a newfound stability in the once-lawless nation has created hope — and jobs — which, some say, are too often being filled by foreigners. Abdulaziz Billow reports from Mogadishu.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.
Video

Video NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Future of Ukrainian Former President's Estate Uncertain

More than six months after Ukraine's former President Viktor Yanukovych fled revolution to Russia, authorities have yet to gain control of his palatial estate. Protesters occupy the grounds and opened it to tourists but they are also refusing to turn it over to the state. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Mezhigirya, just north of Kyiv.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid