you're reading...
Politics & Law

China might be moving closer to ASEAN on South China Sea.

China’s new leaders may be moving closer to resolving disputes over the South China Sea through a regional alliance rather than through separate negotiations with each of its territorial rivals.

This week’s summit of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations showed again the scale of sensitivities over the South China Sea with the Philippines objecting to a draft statement saying all sides agreed not to internationalize the maritime dispute.

China has consistently opposed ASEAN’s involvement in rival claims over the South China Sea that involve Vietnam, Taiwan, the Philippines, Malaysia, and Brunei.

Following the summit in Cambodia, Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesman Qin Gang said an ASEAN Declaration of Conduct over the dispute – or DOC – could help ease tensions.

“China will continue to come back [with] sincere dialogue with ASEAN countries and to fully implement in an effective way the DOC so that all parties can accumulate mutual trust and carry on cooperation and put this issue of South China Sea in good control so that we can work together to safeguard peace, stability, cooperation, and development,” said Gang.

That Declaration of Conduct includes all parties exercising self-restraint by not inhabiting any of the currently uninhabited islands in dispute in the oil-rich sea. Indonesian Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa says talks are already underway to keep alive Chinese/ASEAN cooperation on the issue.

“The key challenge, of course, now is we must ensure that the situation, on the ground or at sea, does not become not conducive so we must contain a conducive atmosphere so negotiation and dialogue can begin to take place,” said Natalegawa.

So why might China’s new leaders be more willing to consider ASEAN’s role in the dispute?

Professor Xiang Lanxin chairs international affairs studies at Shanghai’s Fudan University. He says Beijing’s outgoing leaders miscalculated how Southeast Asian neighbors would respond to broader Chinese territorial claims.

“They did make huge strategic mistakes. I am talking about diplomatic mistakes. One is the assertion of core interests that cover the South China Sea,” said Lanxin.

He says that led to the mistaken impression in Washington and Hanoi and Manila that Beijing intended to claim all of the South China Sea for itself.

“This is an indication of Chinese great ambition of taking over the South China Sea. That’s not the Chinese plan. It is a mistake,” he said.

He expects China’s new leaders will appeal less to nationalism over the South China Sea, moving away from a narrative that focused on the United States as a declining power trying to maintain its status by repositioning diplomatic, military, and commercial assets in Asia.

“Our leaders frequently use the same argument – basically it is a social Darwinist argument – to try to sell their version of nationalism. That has been a very, very risky business,” he said.

Elizabeth Economy directs Asia studies at the U.S. Council on Foreign Relations. She says the new Chinese leader, Xi Jinping, has a choice between a more Deng-Xiaoping-style domestic focus or a more Hu-Jintao assertiveness in regional affairs and the establishment of China as a naval power.

“This more assertive foreign policy, of course, has helped to raise China’s profile internationally but at the same time has brought it into conflict with its neighbors such as Japan, the Philippines, and Vietnam. So the next set of Chinese leaders faces great opportunity in the China that they have inherited but also a set of very distinct challenges,” said Economy.

U.S. President Barack Obama raised the South China Sea issue during closed-door sessions of the ASEAN summit.

ASEAN Secretary General Surin Pitsuwan says Southeast Asian nations do not want the maritime dispute to interfere with what he calls “positive momentum” on other issues, and the Declaration of Conduct does not prevent member states from pursuing rival territorial claims through other channels if they like.

Source: Voice of America “China Might be Moving Closer to ASEAN on South China Sea”

About Political Atheist

Living in South East Asia (Vietnam & Cambodia). At the ending/starting point of the more than 1000 year old SIlk Road.


18 thoughts on “China might be moving closer to ASEAN on South China Sea.

  1. Reblogged this on Chindia Alert: forewarned is forearmed and commented:
    If China does agree to ASEAN multi-lateral agreement on South China Seas dispute, it will probably be the first time. It much prefers to do bilateral deals; conforming tot the old principle of ‘divide and conquer’.


    Posted by keeper @ chindia-alert | November 23, 2012, 4:37 am


  1. Pingback: China angers neighbours with sea claims on new passports « China Daily Mail - November 23, 2012

  2. Pingback: The end of the “ASEAN way” as the South China Sea takes centre stage « China Daily Mail - November 24, 2012

  3. Pingback: China gives police power to board and expel foreign ships in South China Sea « China Daily Mail - November 29, 2012

  4. Pingback: China: The world through the eyes of the dragon « China Daily Mail - December 1, 2012

  5. Pingback: Vietnam condemns China’s South China Sea claims as ‘serious violation’ « China Daily Mail - December 5, 2012

  6. Pingback: India enters the South China Sea debate. « China Daily Mail - December 7, 2012

  7. Pingback: China: Beijing’s scope of perception « China Daily Mail - December 19, 2012

  8. Pingback: New ASEAN chief seeks talks with China. « China Daily Mail - January 11, 2013

  9. Pingback: Taiwan to expand Taiping wharf in South China Sea « China Daily Mail - January 12, 2013

  10. Pingback: China Planning To Kick Butt To World Order « Stirring Trouble Internationally – Around the world - January 14, 2013

  11. Pingback: China says Philippines’ UN request on seas complicates issue « China Daily Mail - January 25, 2013

  12. Pingback: The US Navy: Impotent in the South China Sea dispute « China Daily Mail - January 28, 2013

  13. Pingback: Beijing’s Scope of Perception | JesseSteele.com - February 15, 2014

  14. Pingback: Malaysia joins forces with Philippines and Vietnam against China in sea dispute | China Daily Mail - March 1, 2014

  15. Pingback: Prelude to Conflict: Asia, May 12 | China Daily Mail - May 12, 2014

  16. Pingback: A useless ASEAN will lead to the Chinafication of the entire Southeast Asia | China Daily Mail - May 21, 2014

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

China News

China News is not affiliated in any way with any publication in China or anywhere else.

Enter your email address to receive an email each time an article is published, or join our RSS feed. 100% FREE.

Join 3,867 other followers

Want to write for China News?

Read “Contributor Guidelines” above to join our team of 84 contributors. Write news or opinion about issues in China, or post photos and video. Promote your own site.

Recent Posts

China News Articles Have Been Featured In:

%d bloggers like this: