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

Australia Knights Prince Philip, Sparking National Outrage

Abbott's surprise reintroduction of knights and dames in the country's honors system last year drew criticism that he was out of touch with national sentiment More

SAG Award Boosts 'Birdman' Oscar Hopes

Individual acting Oscars appear to be sewn up: SAG awards went to artists who won Golden Globes: Julianne Moore, Eddie Redmayne, Patricia Arquette, J.K. Simmons More

Katy Perry Lights Way for Super Bowl's Girl Power Moment

Pop star's selection to headline US football championship's halftime show extends NFL's trend of selecting artists who appeal to younger viewers 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.
Zoo Animals Show Their Artistic Sidesi
X
June Soh
January 23, 2015 10:03 PM
The pursuit of happiness is so important, America's founding fathers put it in the Declaration of Independence. Any zookeeper will tell you animals need enrichment, just like humans do. So painting, even music are part of the Smithsonian National Zoo's program to keep the animals happy. Faith Lapidus narrates a report from VOA’s June Soh.
Video

Video Zoo Animals Show Their Artistic Sides

The pursuit of happiness is so important, America's founding fathers put it in the Declaration of Independence. Any zookeeper will tell you animals need enrichment, just like humans do. So painting, even music are part of the Smithsonian National Zoo's program to keep the animals happy. Faith Lapidus narrates a report from VOA’s June Soh.
Video

Video Progress, Some Areas of Disagreement in Cuba Talks

U.S. and Cuban officials are reporting progress from initial talks in Havana on re-establishing diplomatic ties. U.S. Assistant Secretary of State (for Western Hemisphere Affairs) Roberta Jacobson said while there was agreement on a broad range of issues, there also are some “profound disagreements” between Washington and Havana. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins has the story.
Video

Video Worldwide Photo Workshops Empower Youth

Last September, 20 young adults from South Sudan took part in a National Geographic Photo Camp. They are among hundreds of students from around the world who have learned how to use a camera to tell the stories of the people in their communities through the powerful medium of photography. Three camp participants talked about their experiences recently on a visit to Washington. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video US, Japan Offer Lessons as Eurozone Launches Huge Stimulus

The Euro currency has fallen sharply after the European Central Bank announced a bigger-than-expected $67 billion-a-month quantitative easing program Thursday - commonly seen as a form of printing new money. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London on whether the move might rescue the eurozone economy -- and what lessons have been learned from similar programs around the world.
Video

Video Nigerian Elections Pose Concern of Potential Conflict in 'Middle Belt'

Nigeria’s north-central state of Kaduna has long been the site of fighting between Muslims and Christians as well as between people of different ethnic groups. As the February elections approach, community and religious leaders are making plans they hope will keep the streets calm after results are announced. Chris Stein reports from the state capital, Kaduna.
Video

Video As Viewership Drops, Obama Puts His Message on YouTube

Ratings reports show President Obama’s State of the Union address this week drew the lowest number of viewers for this annual speech in 15 years. White House officials anticipated this, and the president has decided to take a non-traditional approach to getting his message out. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video S. Korean Businesses Want to End Trade Restrictions With North

Business leaders in South Korea are calling for President Park Geun-hye to ease trade restrictions with North Korea that were put in place in 2010 after the sinking of a South Korean warship.Pro-business groups argue that expanding trade and investment is not only good for business, it is also good for long-term regional peace and security. VOA’s Brian Padden reports.
Video

Video US Marching Bands Grow Into a Show of Their Own

The 2014 Super Bowl halftime show was the most-watched in history - attracting an estimated 115 million viewers. That event featured pop star Bruno Mars. But the halftime show tradition started with marching bands, which still dominate the entertainment at U.S. high school and college American football games. But as Enming Liu reports in this story narrated by Adrianna Zhang, marching bands have grown into a show of their own.

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

All About America

AppleAndroid