News / Asia

US Portrays ASEAN Meeting as Setback for China

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry speaks during a press conference concluding his visit to Naypyitaw to participate in the 47th ASEAN Foreign Ministers meeting in Naypyitaw, Myanmar, Aug. 10, 2014.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry speaks during a press conference concluding his visit to Naypyitaw to participate in the 47th ASEAN Foreign Ministers meeting in Naypyitaw, Myanmar, Aug. 10, 2014.

The United States is portraying the outcome of a meeting in Myanmar among Southeast Asian nations as a setback for Beijing's attempts to minimize territorial disputes in the South China Sea.

There is no specific mention of China in the final statement by the meeting of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), although the group, in its meetings over the last several days in Myanmar's capital, did consider a freeze on “provocative acts” in the South China Sea.

That pact was proposed by Washington and Manila. Despite China's rebuff of the proposal, U.S. officials are characterizing the outcome of the overall meeting as a positive one.

Secretary of State John Kerry told reporters in Naypyidaw that during all of the relevant talks, he underscored the need for a binding code of conduct in the South China Sea, involving overlapping maritime claims among a number of sovereign states in the region.

“And I'm very pleased that there is positive language that came out in the communiqué issued by ASEAN foreign ministers yesterday as a result of that discussion that embraces this idea of resolving these issues in a thoughtful and peaceful way,” said Kerry.

Kerry declared that the communiqué’s language “goes far enough” despite China's rebuff of the freeze proposal.

The final language in the communiqué states: "We urged all parties concerned to exercise self-restraint and avoid actions which would complicate the situation and undermine peace, stability, and security in the South China Sea."

Although talks have been held on a code of conduct for the sea, there has been little significant progress.

A senior U.S. official has been quoted saying that based on private conversations among diplomats, ASEAN concern over the territorial disputes is at “an all-time high."

The ASEAN Regional Forum security talks involved 27 countries, including Australia, China, India, Japan, Russia and the United States.

China has criticized involvement by the United States in the South China Sea issue, contending Washington is encouraging such countries as the Philippines and Vietnam to be more assertive as part of America's military pivot back to Asia.

China's foreign minister, Wang Yi, who met with Kerry for a half an hour on Saturday, told reporters at the ASEAN gathering that it is premature to move towards settling the territorial dispute based on international law. He accused others of exaggerating the level of tension while also characterizing his country as maintaining restraint in the disputed waters, saying China is being provoked by other countries.


Steve Herman

A veteran journalist, Steve Herman is VOA's Southeast Asia Bureau Chief and Correspondent, based in Bangkok.

You May Like

Philippines, Muslim Rebels Try to Salvage Peace Pact

Peace process faces major setback after botched military operation to find terrorists results in bloody gunbattle between government forces, Moro Islamic Liberation Front fighters More

Republicans Expect Long, Expensive Presidential Battle

Political strategist says eventual winner will be one who can put together strongest coalition of various conservative groups that make up Republican Party More

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Engineers have come up with a lever-operated design that makes use of easily accessible bicycle technology More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: william li from: canada
August 11, 2014 2:47 PM
so america is ready to compete China all around the world? last month in south america, yesterday in Africa, and now in south Asia?

lol cant wait to see who s gonna be the winner!

But I am sure, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and Burma are waiting for more investment from China, and the building of the high speed train system connecting China.

by: Sochetvitou Tang from: Cambodia
August 11, 2014 11:21 AM
If Asian countries want to have a long lasting peace in the region, first they have cure one of the strange mental disease that many leaders in the region have "THE TERRITORY ADDICTION". If you do not cure your own disease, it is going to be hard to blame China's territory expansion.

by: John Lone from: SD
August 10, 2014 10:39 PM
China is being provoked by other countries? Like setting up oil rig on Vietnamese waters? Illegally fish for endanger turtles on Philiipines waters?

by: joshua medalle from: Philippines
August 10, 2014 10:20 PM
Asean countries involved in china's sea grabbing dispute must stop buying china products. Doing otherwise only encourages china to strengthen its military might to farther threaten weaker countries and grab more of their territories. Chinese state & private companies investments must also be banned in these countries to start isolating the bully and modern nazis from asean countries. If asean was able to survive without china before there is no reason it can not survive now without the chinese nazis.

by: Frankie Fook-lun Leung from: Los Angeles
August 10, 2014 8:17 PM
The USA is facing more pressing concerns in Ukraine and the Middle East, yet Secretary Kerry still attended this conference in Burma. To that extent, ASEAN countries except China were impressed that USA took the South Sea dispute seriously. However, it would still be too early to say that this meeting marks a set-back for China.

by: meanbill from: USA
August 10, 2014 6:44 PM
THE WISE MAN said it;.... Only Kerry and the US would try to claim some type of political victory over meaningless (ASEAN) discussions on China's assertive actions in the South China Sea, that were just talks and observations, without any (ASEAN) country condemnations of China, or anything else.... (a setback for China?)..... REALLY?

China reiterated to Kerry, they will not discus internal affairs or politics with outside countries, and safeguarding China's sovereignty and maritime rights and interests is unshakable, and will defend China's unequivocally rights to it's (ADIZ) and every single sovereign inch of air, sea and land, of the motherland.... "no compromise and no concessions"...... (But will hold discussions on other things?)
In Response

by: Tuan from: VN
August 11, 2014 3:10 AM
Are you realy living in America? I think you should go back and live in China.

by: Tun Lwin from: Yangon
August 10, 2014 5:13 PM
Thein Sein is a defender of the former military gov. He is not a man who can change for Myanmar.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

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