Aside from the Philippines, Vietnam, Brunei and Malaysia also have claims on the resource-rich South China Sea.
U.S. State Secretary Rex Tillerson gestures before the 10th Lower Mekong Initiative Ministerial Meeting, part of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Regional Forum in Manila, Philippines, n Sunday Aug. 6, 2017.
ASEAN Secretary General Le Luong Minh and ASEAN Foreign Ministers Chair Alan Peter Cayetano launch the tribute painting during the opening ceremony of the ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting (AMM) at the PICC.
Moreover, Ando told reporters that Japan is concerned with the building of large scale outpost within the South China Sea.
“On this occasion of the 50th anniversary of the founding of ASEAN, I would like to, on behalf of the Chinese government and the Chinese people and in my own name, express warm congratulations to you, and through you, to the governments and peoples of the member states of ASEAN”, Xi said in the message.
The stand is a reference to Chinese structures over disputed islands, including Mischief Reef, which is contested by China and the Philippines, and Woody Island, which is contested by China and Vietnam, among others.
Cayetano cited the framework as an example of how parties that were historically at odds were co-operating, but his comments indicate that China had initially set out to create a code that had no legal binds.
In a surprise move, the ministers defied China’s steadfast stance and issued a joint communique late Sunday that indirectly criticized Beijing’s land reclamation and military fortifications in the disputed waters. “And we hope, again, that this ultimately will result in North Korea coming to the conclusion to choose a different pathway, and when the conditions are right that we can sit and have a dialogue around the future of North Korea so that they feel secure and prosper economically”.
Tensions over the sea have long vexed ASEAN, which operates on a consensus basis but has had to balance the interests of rival claimants and those more aligned to China.
Another diplomat, however, said there was no real disagreement on the contents of the communique and stressed that the initial draft was seen by some members as weak. The Philippines had been one of the most vocal critics of China and filed a case before the UN-backed tribunal.
The Philippines, under President Benigno Aquino, was one of the most vocal critics of China and filed a case before a UN-backed arbitration, which a year ago ruled that China’s claims to the sea had no legal basis. In return, it has drawn substantial Chinese financial aid and investments.
“The final framework of the COC brings stability to the South China Sea, thus demonstrating a positive momentum”. China concluded talks with ASEAN for a negotiating framework for the nonaggression code, a baby step both sides hailed as a milestone.
Fourth is to get the upgraded China-ASEAN free trade area to deliver more results at an early date. “They’re not reclaiming land anymore, so why will you put it again here?”
Furthermore, he said China and the ASEAN members will continue to cooperate on such “practical maritime efforts, including management and prevention of conflicts among parties through confidence building measures to prevent miscalculations on the ground”.