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

    Mother of IS Supporter: Son Was Peaceful, 'Role Model'

    Somali-American Abdirizak Mohamed Warsame pleaded guilty Thursday to charges of conspiring to provide material support to Islamic State militants

    Factions Shift as Civilians Die in Syrian War

    Scenario likely only to further confuse military situation on ground and potentially worsen humanitarian crisis that already has grown to epic proportions

    Presidential Hopefuls Woo Minorities, Evangelicals

    Four GOP candidates to speak at forum at Bob Jones University in Greenville, South Carolina

    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.
    Two-thirds of World Faces Water Shortagei
    X
    February 12, 2016 7:31 PM
    Four billion people — or two out of every three on the planet — do not have enough water to meet their basic needs. That is far greater than previously thought, according to a new study that presents a more accurate picture of the problem. As VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports, the findings will help policymakers and the public craft solutions to address the threat.
    Video

    Video Two-thirds of World Faces Water Shortage

    Four billion people — or two out of every three on the planet — do not have enough water to meet their basic needs. That is far greater than previously thought, according to a new study that presents a more accurate picture of the problem. As VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports, the findings will help policymakers and the public craft solutions to address the threat.
    Video

    Video Gateway to Mecca: Historical Old Jeddah

    Local leader Sami Nawar's family has been in the Old City of Jeddah for hundreds of years and takes us on a tour of this ancient route to Mecca, also believed to be the final resting place of Adam's wife, Eve.
    Video

    Video New Technology Aims to Bring Election Transparency to Uganda

    A team of recent graduates from Uganda’s Makerere University has created a mobile application designed to help monitor elections and expose possible rigging. The developers say the app, called E-Poll, will make Uganda's democratic process fairer. From Kampala, VOA's Serginho Roosblad reports.
    Video

    Video As Refugees Perish, Greek Graveyards Fill

    Aid workers on the Greek island of Lesbos say they are struggling to bury the increasing number of bodies of refugees that have been recovered or washed up ashore in recent months.  The graveyards are all full, they say, yet as tens of thousands of people clamor to get out of Syria, it is clear refugees will still be coming in record numbers. For VOA, Hamada Elrasam reports from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video Russia Bristles at NATO Expansion in E. Europe

    Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov is meeting Friday with the head of NATO after the Western military alliance and the United States announced plans for the biggest military build-up in Europe since the Cold War. Russia has called NATO's moves a threat to stability in Europe. But NATO says the troop rotations and equipment are aimed at reassuring allies concerned about Russia as VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video To Fight Zika, Scientists Target Mosquitoes

    Mosquitoes strike again. The Zika virus outbreak is just the latest headline-grabbing epidemic carried by these biting pests, but researchers are fighting back with new ways to control them. VOA's Steve Baragona takes a look.
    Video

    Video Mosul Refugees Talk About Life Under IS

    A top U.S. intelligence official told Congress this week that a planned Iraqi-led operation to re-take the city of Mosul from Islamic State militants is unlikely to take place this year. IS took over the city in June 2014, and for the past year and a half, Mosul residents have been held captive under its rule. VOA's Zana Omar talked to some families who managed to escape. Bronwyn Benito narrates his report.
    Video

    Video Scientists Make Progress Toward Better Diabetes Treatment, Cure

    Scientists at two of the top U.S. universities say they have made significant advances in their quest to find a more efficient treatment for diabetes and eventually a cure. According to the International Diabetes Federation, the disease affects more than 370 million people worldwide. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video NATO to Target Migrant Smugglers

    NATO has announced plans to send warships to the Aegean Sea to target migrant smugglers in the alliance's most direct intervention so far since a wave of people began trying to reach European shores.
    Video

    Video Russia's Catholics, Orthodox Hopeful on Historic Pope-Patriarch Meeting

    Russia's Catholic minority has welcomed an historic first meeting Friday in Cuba between the Pope and the Patriarch of Russia's dominant Orthodox Church. The Orthodox Church split with Rome in 1054 and analysts say politics, both church and state, have been driving the relationship in the centuries since. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Used Books Get a New Life on the Streets of Lagos

    Used booksellers are importing books from abroad and selling them on the streets of Africa's largest city. What‘s popular with readers may surprise you. Chris Stein reports from Lagos.
    Video

    Video After NH Primaries All Eyes on South Carolina

    After Tuesday's primary in New Hampshire, US presidential candidates swiftly turned to the next election coming up in South Carolina. The so-called “first-in-the-South” poll may help further narrow down the field of candidates. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video Smartphone Helps Grow Vegetables

    One day, you may be using your smartphone to grow your vegetables. A Taipei-based company has developed a farm cube — a small, enclosed ecosystem designed to grow plants indoors. The environment inside is automatically adjusted by the cube, but it can also be controlled through an app. VOA's Deborah Block has more on the gardening system.
    Video

    Video Exhibit Turns da Vinci’s Drawings Into Real Objects

    In addition to being a successful artist, Renaissance genius Leonardo da Vinci designed many practical machines, some of which are still in use today, although in different forms. But a number of his projects were never realized — until today. VOA’s George Putic reports.