News / Asia

US Looks to Singapore, Indonesia to Help Calm Tensions in S. China Sea

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton gestures as she speaks with Indonesia's Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa during a joint news conference at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Jakarta, September 3, 2012.U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton gestures as she speaks with Indonesia's Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa during a joint news conference at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Jakarta, September 3, 2012.
x
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton gestures as she speaks with Indonesia's Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa during a joint news conference at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Jakarta, September 3, 2012.
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton gestures as she speaks with Indonesia's Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa during a joint news conference at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Jakarta, September 3, 2012.
JAKARTA, Indonesia — U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is in Asia where she is discussing efforts by U.S. allies Indonesia and Singapore to help calm tensions over rival territorial claims in the South China Sea.  

Following talks with Indonesian Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa, Secretary of State Clinton said the United States, like all countries, has a national interest in maintaining peace and stability, freedom of navigation, and unimpeded lawful commerce in the South China Sea.

"We believe the nations of the region should work collaboratively together to resolve disputes without coercion, without intimidation, without threats, and certainly without the use of force," said Clinton.

China, Vietnam, Malaysia, Taiwan, Brunei, and the Philippines have competing territorial claims to parts of the South China Sea.  The United States is working to encourage agreement on a code of conduct to establish clear procedures for resolving those disputes.

Indonesia has played a key role in making progress toward that goal, especially when regional foreign ministers failed to reach agreement in July.  So too has Singapore, which is more actively mediating South China Sea disputes as part of growing ties with the United States.

Joshua Kurlantzick is a Southeast Asia analyst for the Council on Foreign Relations in Washington.

"Singapore, I think, is walking farther away from the role it has historically played, which is really close to the U.S., but it sort of publicly did not talk about it and still tried to be a balancer," said Kurlantzick. "I think we are moving with them closer to a more traditional alliance."

Analyst Justin Logan of the Washington-based Cato Institute agrees that Singapore is moving closer to the United States, but says this might not be a traditional alliance.

"The United States likes to have very, very enthusiastic allies," said Logan. "And I think that the Singaporeans tend to have a more reserved, more calculated, careful approach.  So it is certainly true that relations between the United States and Singapore have gotten better.  They are getting more attention in Washington.  But I do not think that you are going to have this extraordinarily tight, sometimes ebullient-style relationship that the United States has enjoyed in the past."

Logan says Singapore understands its position in the various South China Sea claims.

"Everybody wants to sit down and talk with the Singaporeans," said Logan. "And they realize that everybody wants to be friendly with the Singaporeans.  Given their strategic positioning in this, they have played, I think, a very adept diplomatic game in trying to be friendly with everyone because everyone wants to be friendly with them."  

It is a balance shared by neighboring Indonesia, where Foreign Minister Natalegawa last month hosted his Chinese counterpart and is quick to make clear that the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, or ASEAN, is not trying to pressure China.  

"It is important to underscore ASEAN unity is not meant to be at the expense of any other party," said Natalegawa. "It is not about us rallying around to counter or to put any other country on the spot or to put them in a corner."

Chinese ambitions in the South China Sea will be part of Secretary Clinton's talks in Beijing and Brunei as well as at the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation forum in Russia.

You May Like

Video Drug Use Rises in Afghanistan

Ninety percent of world’s heroin comes from Afghanistan More

Here's Your Chance to Live in a Deserted Shopping Mall

About one-third of the 1200 enclosed malls in the US are dead or dying. Here's what's being done with them. More

Video NASA: Big Antarctica Ice Shelf Is Disintegrating

US space agency’s new study indicates Larsen B shelf could break up in just a few years More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriagei
X
May 21, 2015 4:14 AM
The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.
Video

Video Women to March for Peace Between Koreas

Prominent female activists from around the world plan to march through the demilitarized zone dividing North and South Korea to call for peace between the two neighbors, divided for more than 60 years. The event, taking place May 24, marks the International Women's Day for Peace and Disarmament and has been approved by both Koreas. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Drug Use Rises in Afghanistan Following Record High Poppy Crops

Afghanistan has seen record high poppy crops during the last few years - and the result has been an alarming rise in illegal drug use and addiction in the war-torn country. VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem has this report from Kabul.
Video

Video America’s Front Lawn Gets Overhaul

America’s front yard is getting a much-needed overhaul. Almost two kilometers of lawn stretch from the U.S. Capitol to the Washington Monument. But the expanse of grass known as the National Mall has taken a beating over the years. Now workers are in the middle of restoring the lush, green carpet that fronts some of Washington’s best-known sights. VOA’s Steve Baragona took a look.

VOA Blogs