Home GRASP GRASP/China ASEAN summit ends in uncertainty over South China Sea stance

ASEAN summit ends in uncertainty over South China Sea stance

177
0
SHARE

Southeast Asian leaders wrapped up a summit on Saturday with no indication of an agreement on how to address Beijing' s assertiveness in the South China Sea, a divisive issue in a region uncertain about its ties with the United States. Current top breaking Philippine…
MANILA – Southeast Asian leaders wrapped up a summit on Saturday with no indication of an agreement on how to address Beijing’s assertiveness in the South China Sea, a divisive issue in a region uncertain about its ties with the United States. Six hours after the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) summit officially ended in Manila, no customary joint statement had been issued and it was unclear whether there was agreement over including references to China’s militarization and island-building in the hotly disputed waterway. ASEAN references to the South China Sea issue typically do not name China. Beijing is extremely sensitive to anything it perceives as a veiled reference to its expansion of its seven manmade islands in the Spratly archipelago, including with hangers, runways, radars and missiles. This year’s summit comes at a time of uncertainty about US interests in the region and whether it will maintain its maritime presence to counter Chinese assertiveness that has often put the region on edge. A spokesman for the Philippines foreign ministry said a statement would be issued on Saturday. Two ASEAN diplomatic sources earlier on Saturday told Reuters that Chinese embassy representatives in Manila had sought to influence the content of the communique. The sources said the Chinese officials had lobbied the Philippines to keep tacit references to Beijing’s island-building and arming of artificial islands out of the statement.

Continue reading...