Southeast Asian nations displayed a rare show of unity yesterday against China‘s sweeping maritime claims, calling for the first formal talks with Beijing over a sea dispute that has raised tensions and exposed deep divisions in the region.
As Chinese premier Wen Jiabao arrived in Cambodia for meetings with Southeast Asian leaders, the 10-member Asean bloc appeared determined to avoid a repeat of an embarrassing breakdown of talks in July over competing territorial claims in the mineral-rich South China Sea.
Cambodia’s Prime Minister Hun Sen will tell Mr Wen that Asean wants to begin talks to develop a binding code of conduct, aimed at reducing the chance of naval flashpoints, as soon as possible, Asean secretary-general Surin Pitsuwan said.
China’s assertive claims in the South China Sea have caused deep divisions within the bloc.
Meanwhile, the Asean leaders have completed “refining and rephrasing” the Joint Statement to Celebrate the 10th Anniversary of the Declaration of Conducts for Parties in the South China Sea.
The draft declaration would be brought for consultation with Mr Wen before it is announced at the Asean-China summit today, Kao Kim Hourn, Cambodia’s secretary of state of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, said.
The joint statement was intended to expedite cooperation between the two sides, he said.
Mr Wen arrived in Phnom Penh yesterday for talks with Asean leaders ahead of the broader East Asia summit that includes the United States and Japan, as well as other Asian nations.Source: Bangkok Post “Asean demands maritime talks“
- Cambodia Prepares for Major Regional Summits. (alfredmeier.me)
- Southeast Asian leaders to ask China to start talks on legally-binding pact on islands dispute.
(The Washington Post)
- Obama at Asean as sea row rumbles (bbc.co.uk)
- Leaders of China, Japan will attend ASEAN, East Asia Summits in Cambodia (chinadailymail.com)