VietNamNet Bridge - An ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) chairman's statement this week is likely to call for preventative diplomacy to arrest an escalation of territorial spats with China in the South China Sea (East Sea), according to Nikkei newspaper. Foreign ministers from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, as well as Japan, China, Russia, South Korea and the U.S., are scheduled to meet next week in Bali to discuss security issues in Asia. China is opposed to the forum taking up the maritime disputes, while ASEAN members involved in the rows, such as Vietnam and the Philippines, wish to solve the matter in cooperation with countries such as Japan and the U.S. The chairman's statement -- expected on July 23 -- is likely to stress that ARF should play an important role in regional stability, in an apparent bid to expand the forum's role. The statement is also expected to call for a focus on preventative diplomacy, and for participating nations to consider steps to … [Read more...] about ASEAN forum to call for diplomacy over East Sea disputes
Busiest shipping lane in the world
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry called on China to end “problematic actions” in the South China Sea, where tensions have escalated as Beijing built artificial islands on occupied reefs. Kerry told Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi Wednesday in Kuala Lumpur that the U.S. wants to see competing claims of sovereignty in the South China Sea “resolved peacefully,” according to a State Department official traveling with Kerry. He encouraged China and other claimants to “create space for diplomacy,” said the official, who asked not to be identified in line with departmental policy. The meeting, which took place at a gathering of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, occurred ahead of a September state visit to the U.S. by Chinese President Xi Jinping. Wang said China “is willing to see the U.S. play an active role” in Asia, though nations outside of the South China Sea region shouldn’t escalate tensions in the area. Concerns over … [Read more...] about Kerry asks China to end ‘problematic actions’ in South China Sea
China is holding military drills across the East and South China Seas that may further disrupt domestic air travel and add to tensions with neighbors over territorial disputes in the region. China begins five days of drills in the East China Sea on July 29, the Ministry of National Defense said in a statement on its website. Those exercises, which the ministry called routine, come while China is holding live-fire drills off Beibu Bay, or the Gulf of Tonkin, near Vietnam and drills in the Bohai Strait that both end Aug. 1. While the scale of the current drills is bigger than in the past, it’s a coincidence the annual exercises are being held at the same time, Beijing News reported today, citing Zhang Junshe, a researcher at Navy Military Research Institute. President Xi Jinping has been expanding the reach of China’s navy and using the added muscle to more aggressively assert territorial claims in the region. Chinese and Japanese ships regularly tail one another off … [Read more...] about China carrying out more drills across East, South China Seas
Taiwan had to use a mainland Chinese shipper to get vital materials to a $100 million port it is building on a disputed island in the South China Sea last month after it couldn't find a local firm to do the job, Taiwanese officials said on Friday. A coastguard official told Reuters the vessel from Shanghai Zhenhua Heavy Industry, a state-run company, was escorted by a Taiwanese patrol boat to Itu Aba island on what he called an unprecedented mission. Two other Taiwanese vessels monitored the ship while it unloaded its cargo of large caissons, or watertight chambers used in the construction of piers. China claims virtually all of the South China Sea and is at loggerheads with other claimants in the contested waters, particularly the Philippines and Vietnam. Yet the willingness of Zhenhua Heavy to accept such a contract from Taiwan, which China regards as a renegade province, shows how Beijing is largely unfazed by the work on Itu Aba. Military strategists say that is because Itu … [Read more...] about Taiwan turns to Chinese shipper for help with port in disputed waters
Time may be on China’s side when it comes to its South China Sea territorial dispute with the Philippines. The Philippines will elect a new president in less than a year, bringing a potential reset to ties that have deteriorated to the point President Benigno Aquino was once uninvited to visit China. While candidates have yet to formally declare their plans, those regarded as front-runners are now flagging a softer approach on China, including possible joint exploration of resources in the sea. That would mark a return to the policies of Aquino’s predecessor Gloria Arroyo, and could give the Philippine economy further support. Under Aquino the Philippines, vastly outnumbered in soldiers, planes and ships, has taken China to an international court for arbitration on the South China Sea dispute. It has sought to rally support from other Southeast Asian nations for a tougher stance against China, and expanded an alliance with its ally the U.S. China has rebuffed Aquino’s … [Read more...] about Will the next Philippine government be nicer to China?