News / Asia

South China Sea Dispute Flares at ASEAN Summit

U.S. President Barack Obama (back to camera) participates during the ASEAN Summit at the Peace Palace in Phnom Penh, November 19, 2012.
U.S. President Barack Obama (back to camera) participates during the ASEAN Summit at the Peace Palace in Phnom Penh, November 19, 2012.
Irwin Loy
— Regional leaders at a summit of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations have again raised disagreements over the South China Sea.

ASEAN leaders have sought to maintain a unified public presence preparing for this summit, following divisive ministerial meetings in July.

They had largely avoided bickering publicly through the media, until a statement late Sunday from ASEAN chair, Cambodia.  

“The ASEAN leaders decided that they will not internationalize the South China Sea from now on," Cambodian foreign ministry official Kao Kim Hourn told reporters. "That they will focus this entirely within the current existing ASEAN-China mechanisms, which is at the level of the senior officials’, ministerial, and the leaders where they will continue to engage discussions on the South China Sea.”

By Monday, the Philippines had objected. Its delegation released a short statement saying it wished to maintain its “inherent right to defend its national interest when deemed necessary.” The Philippines was quick to add that it too is concerned about maintaining ASEAN unity.

But the incident was a reminder of July, when Cambodia was accused of backing China in the long-running maritime dispute by refusing Philippine demands to mention a set of disputed islands in a final official statement.

The Philippines, Vietnam, Brunei and Malaysia, claim parts of the South China Sea, but it is the vast claims from regional power China, that has caused disagreements within ASEAN.

China is interested in negotiating a solution to the disputes with individual countries rather than the bloc. Any ASEAN consensus to not internationalize the issue, then, could be seen as playing into China's hands.

But there still remains a wide gap between ASEAN and China when it comes to beginning negotiations. ASEAN decided this week to push forward on a long-awaited Code of Conduct for involved parties. But China appears reluctant.

Qin Gang, a Chinese government spokesman, said, "It takes some time for, you know, for China and ASEAN to talk about, discuss [Code of Conduct] and this is not a wasting of time because during the discussion we can build up and accumulate more consensus and mutual trust to find more better ways to keep this region peaceful and stable.”

Either way, it appears likely the issue will be raised on an international stage as soon as Tuesday, during the East Asia Summit, a forum that includes countries beyond ASEAN's boundaries.

You May Like

EU Court Fines Poland for Hosting CIA 'Black Sites'

Ruling is first time a court has acknowledged suspects were held and tortured at the sites, under US program launched following the 9/11 terrorist attacks More

Migrant Issues Close to Home Spur Groups to Take Action

Groups placing water, food in the desert, or aiding detainees after release, have one common goal: no more deaths of migrants crossing illegally into the US More

Video At AIDS Conference, Prevention Pill Stirs Excitement

Truveda shows promise, spurring debate over access and other approaches More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debatei
X
Shelley Schlender
July 24, 2014 6:43 PM
In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Death Toll From Israel-Gaza Conflict Surpasses 700

Gaza officials say a shelling hit a compound housing a United Nations-run school in the Gaza Strip, killing more than a dozen people, during an Israeli offensive in the area. Heavy fighting between the Israeli military and Hamas militants continued on Thursday, pushing up the death toll. So far, more than 730 Palestinians and 35 Israelis have been killed in the conflict. VOA's Scott Bobb has the latest from Jerusalem.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video Israel Targets Gaza Supply Tunnels

The Israeli military has launched a ground operation in Gaza to destroy the myriad tunnels that may have been used to smuggle weapons to Hamas. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports that could mean more hardship for the people of Gaza, who obtain some of their essential supplies through these underground passages
Video

Video Researchers Target Low-Cost Avatar Technology

Scientists at the University of Southern California Institute for Creative Technologies say 3-dimensional representations could revolutionize social media. Elizabeth Lee has more from Los Angeles.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.

AppleAndroid