Thursday, 23 October 2014

Southeast Asia

Delays, Disputes Beset ASEAN Resolution of South China Sea

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Igor Morgulov, left, talks with ASEAN's Deputy Secretary-General Nyan Lynn, right, before the ASEAN-Russia Ministerial Meeting in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, July 11, 2012.
Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Igor Morgulov, left, talks with ASEAN's Deputy Secretary-General Nyan Lynn, right, before the ASEAN-Russia Ministerial Meeting in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, July 11, 2012.
Irwin LoyVOA

PHNOM PENH — Senior ministers from Southeast Asia continue to push forward on delicate negotiations on the South China Sea during this week's high-level regional meetings in Cambodia. But delegates to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) ministers' meetings on Wednesday appeared to reach a stumbling block.

Delegates have publicly downplayed tensions about the South China Sea dispute. But officials acknowledged Wednesday there was disagreement from some members over the wording of a joint ASEAN statement on the issue.

Marty Natalegawa is Indonesia's foreign minister.

"At the same time there is a parallel process - parallel and yet interlinked - on how to capture ASEAN’s views on the recent developments in the South China Sea. The recent worrying developments in the South China Sea," he said.

ASEAN members Vietnam, the Philippines, Brunei and Malaysia all claim parts of the South China Sea. This puts them at odds with China, which also claims a large swath of the body of water.

Standoffs in the area in recent months, including an April incident between a Philippines warship and Chinese vessels, have added a sense of urgency to this week's negotiations.

Any joint statement must reflect this, but also move the countries forward, said
Natalegawa

"We simply, we need to capture how we feel in terms of what the situation has been in the past, but more importantly to more forward. It’s very important for us to express our concern with what had happened, whether it be at the shoals, whether it be at the continental shelves ..., but more importantly than simply responding to the past is to move forward to ensure that these kinds of events no longer recur," he said.

The debate coming into this week's meetings was how ASEAN members would go about presenting a united approach to negotiations on a long awaited Code of Conduct with China.  ASEAN ministers announced this week they had moved forward with "key elements" of a code of conduct, yet even this appears unlikely to satisfy all parties.

The Philippines for example, has long insisted on including a dispute mechanism within the code. China, on the other hand, has made it clear that it wants to settle territorial disagreements on a one-on-one basis.

Hammering out a code of conduct may reaffirm each party's ultimate goal of cooling down tensions and avoiding armed conflict. But whether it represents a long-term solution to the disagreements is questionable.

Still, ASEAN Secretary General Surin Pitsuwan said bloc members realize how important it is to resolve the maritime dispute while it's in the public eye.

"Issues of South China Sea is certainly one issue that I think they want to explore further," he said. "The issues and the ways in which to handle because the world is paying attention to us, because the world is expecting some soothing message, message of confidence, message of hope out of here that we are indeed working together in order to manage the situation. So I think in good faith, in good will, we want to be better prepared."

The ASEAN meetings reach a peak with Thursday's ASEAN Regional Forum, which will include senior delegates from the bloc's many dialogue partners, including the United States.

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one
Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Illegal Logging Ravaging the Last Forests, Activists Sayi
X
22 October 2014
Forestry activists say at least 55,000 tons of luxury wood has been sent from Cambodia to China this year alone. Activists, from communities that live near some of Cambodia’s last forests, told reporters Wednesday that illegal logging is ravaging their homelands, as part of a “systematic” trade that includes the participation of high-ranking officials, authorities and security forces. (Kong Sothanarith, Phnom Penh)

English with Mani & Mori

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Face the Music (Movie: Yes Man)i
X
20 October 2014
You can say, "You lied, and lied, but this time you got caught. It's time you 'face the music'. It's time you confess and tell the truth." What does it mean? Watch here. For more videos - go to youtube.com/KhmerSpecialEnglish. To contact Mani & Mori - write to them at maniandmori@gmail.com.
Video

Video Face the Music (Movie: Yes Man)

You can say, "You lied, and lied, but this time you got caught. It's time you 'face the music'. It's time you confess and tell the truth." What does it mean? Watch here. For more videos - go to youtube.com/KhmerSpecialEnglish. To contact Mani & Mori - write to them at maniandmori@gmail.com.
Video

Video Hit the Nail on the Head (Movie: Inside Job)

You can say, "The professor 'hit the nail on the head' when she said, that we cannot demand respect, respect must be earned and not given freely." What does it mean? Watch here. For more videos - go to www.youtube.com/KhmerSpecialEnglish or www.khmer.voanews.com/maniandmori. To contact Mani & Mori
Video

Video Speak of the Devil (Movie: Easy A)

You can say, "Speaking of the devil, there she is! Hey, we were just talking about you a moment ago." What does it mean? Watch here. For more videos - go to youtube.com/KhmerSpecialEnglish. To contact Mani & Mori - write to them at maniandmori@gmail.com.
Video

Video Rock the Boat (Movie: 500 Days of Summer)

You can say, "Things are going really well between the two of you - he's happy and you're happy, so why 'rock the boat'?" What does it mean? Watch here. For more videos - go to www.youtube.com/KhmerSpecialEnglish. To contact Mani & Mori - write to them at maniandmori@gmail.com.
See more >>>