You are here: Home » International » News » Others
Business Standard

China scores tacit victory at Asean on South China Sea

China's efforts to assert its dominance over the Sea have in past angered Southeast Asian nations

Andreo Calonzo & Ian C Sayson | Bloomberg 

(From left) Brunei's Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah, Indonesia's President Joko Widodo, Malaysia's Prime Minister Najib Razak and Philippine's President Rodrigo Duterte link hands during the 12th  ASEAN Growth Area Summit in Manila (Photo: Reuters)
(From left) Brunei's Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah, Indonesia's President Joko Widodo, Malaysia's PM Najib Razak and Philippine's President Rodrigo Duterte link hands during 12th ASEAN Growth Area Summit (Photo: Reuters)

won approval from Southeast Asian leaders on Saturday at a meeting where US allies in Asia have previously criticised over its actions in disputed territory.

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations, which has enjoyed an upswing in relations with for some time, ended a summit in Manila with a statement noting “the improving cooperation between and China” in the Sea.

The leaders also welcomed “progress to complete a framework of the Code of Conduct in the South Sea” by the middle of this year, and recognised “the long-term benefits” of peace, stability and sustainable development in the region.

The leaders’ avoided mention of sensitive issues such as land reclamation or militarisation, or last year’s ruling by an court that rejected China’s claims to more than 80 per cent of the Sea in a case brought by the under the administration of former president Benigno Aquino.

China’s efforts to assert its dominance over the South Sea, one of the world’s busiest shipping lanes that carries more than $5 trillion in annual trade, have in the past angered Southeast Asian nations with competing claims such as Vietnam and the The waterway has become a flash-point in a broader tussle for regional influence between and the US in Asia.

Speaking after the meeting, President and current chairman Rodrigo Duterte said China’s recent actions in the Sea were not discussed at the leaders’ meeting on Saturday, describing any talks on the issue as “useless.”

“The biggest victor in diplomacy in this summit is China,” Lauro Baja, former Philippine foreign affairs undersecretary, said on Saturday. “seems to feel and act under the shadows of

is engaging in a very successful diplomatic position,” Baja said. “considers what feels, what thinks and how will act in its decisions.”
Before the summit, Duterte told reporters that arguments between the and over disputed territory were not an issue for A Philippine delegation is due to travel to in May to discuss issues related to the Sea.
 
Bloomberg

RECOMMENDED FOR YOU