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

India PM Modi's Party Distances Itself From Religious Conversions

BJP under fire for being slow to rein in hardline affiliate groups allegedly trying to promote Hindu-dominant agenda by luring Muslims and Christians to convert More

Anti-Whaling Group Found in Contempt of Court

Radical environmentalists who threw acid and smoke bombs at Japanese whalers in the waters off Antarctica continue their campaign to disrupt Japan's annual whale hunt More

UN's Ban Urges End to Discrimination Against Ebola Workers

Ban was speaking in Guinea on the second day of a whistle-stop tour aimed at thanking healthcare workers of the countries at the heart of the epidemic 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.
US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubansi
X
Sharon Behn
December 19, 2014 9:34 PM
For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubans

For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video Three Cities Bid for Future Obama Presidential Library

President Barack Obama still has two years left in his term in office, but the effort to establish his post-presidential library is already underway. The bid for the Obama Presidential Library is down to four locations in three states -- New York, Hawaii, and Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, each of them played an important part in the president’s life before he reached the White House.
Video

Video Cuba Deal is Major Victory for Pope’s Diplomatic Initiatives

Pope Francis played a key role in brokering the US-Cuba deal that was made public earlier this week. It is the most stunning success so far in a series of peacemaking efforts by the pontiff. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video Fears of More Political Gridlock in 2015

2014 proved to be a difficult year politically for President Barack Obama and a very good year for the U.S. Republican Party. Republican gains in the November midterm elections gave them control of the Senate and House of Representatives for the next two years -- setting the stage for more confrontation and gridlock in the final two years of the Obama presidency. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone has a preview from Washington.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.

All About America

AppleAndroid