Closer China-Asean relations

Andrew Cummings
August 13, 2017

It is said that Vietnam wanted a more assertive ASEAN communiqué at the end of their meeting in Manila this week, but the other ASEAN nations, notably Cambodia, opted for a non-confrontational stand against China.

Beijing and ASEAN Foreign Ministers have recently adopted a framework of the Code of Conduct in the South China Sea.

The current chairman is the Philippines, which hosted the group's foreign ministers last weekend. Vietnam, a co-claimant in the South China Sea, led the push for a stronger statement on the contested waters. The statement was finally issued on Sunday.

Reuters says that Australia, Japan, and the USA had insisted on the code of conduct being legally binding, and the South China Morning Post indicates that Vietnam also pushed for legal rules in the sea, which Beijing strongly opposes. "(The Chinese) are not reclaiming any more", he said.

"Beijing has made it very clear to Singapore what it expects on the South China Sea issue", said another Asian diplomat in Hong Kong who is familiar with the situation. Neither China's defence ministry nor its foreign ministry immediately responded to a request for comment.

Washington welcomed the joint communique issued by the foreign ministers of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations addressing the South China Sea issue.

In view of this, Proclamation 282 orders all government agencies, especially the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), Department of Education (DepEd), Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), Department of Tourism (DoT), Department Trade and Industry (DTI) and the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) to initiate and implement programs and activities to help generate awareness and public support in promoting the observance of ASEAN Month throughout the country.

The United States has criticized China's construction of islands and build-up of military facilities in the sea, and is concerned they could be used to restrict free nautical movement.

There are also several newly built facilities, including what appears to be a large administrative building in a fresh clearing on the island, Amti said. The rapprochement between President Rodrigo Duterte and his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, defused a tense standoff between the Asian neighbors last year at the disputed Scarborough Shoal, where China allowed Filipinos back to fish in October as years of thorny relations began to brighten.

Cayetano said: "Japan, Australia, and the U.S. are our friends".

'We express dissatisfaction and firm opposition to the Japan´s 2017 Defense White Paper, which contains statements about China's naval activities in the East and South Seas.

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