(Image source: The Wall Street Journal)

 

 

BY ZACH TOOMBS

 

 

Confusion and miscommunication characterized a meeting of south Asian countries this week, as they tried — and failed — to present a united front in dealing with a more aggressive China.

 

China lays claim to almost the entirety of the South China Sea. It’s a region rich in oil and fishing resources and flush with trade routes. But parts of the sea are also claimed by nations like the Philippines and Malaysia.

 

The contention has been ongoing for almost a decade, but China is becoming increasingly assertive in the region, dedicating more naval resources to patrolling areas it claims as its own.

 

The United States has countered by placing more troops and ships across south Asia. President Barack Obama’s trip to the region this week is seen as yet another signal that America hopes to check China’s progress there and develop stronger alliances.

 

But the official alliance that spans all the major players in south Asia is hitting roadblocks. The Association of Southeast Asian Nations had hoped to establish a common position on the South China Sea issue before hosting Mr. Obama and Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao this week. But, as of yet, they’re not on the same page.

 

The Financial Times reports:

 

“Cambodia, the chair of [ASEAN] and an important China ally, which said the bloc had agreed not to raise the South China Sea disputes...”

 

But the president of the Philippines says that’s not true, saying:

 

“There were several views expressed yesterday on Asean unity which we did not realise would be translated into an Asean consensus...”

 

According to Voice of America, China would rather conduct negotiations over the South China Sea on a one-on-one basis.

 

China is interested in negotiating a solution to the disputes with individual countries rather than the bloc. Any ASEAN consensus to not internationalize the issue, then, could be seen as playing into China's hands.

 

All the while, China continues grappling for more territories to its east — claiming a chain of islands it calls the Diaoyu and Japan refers to as the Senkaku Islands. Talks to resolve that issue have also failed to progress.

South Asian Nations Split on How to Deal with China

by Zach Toombs
0
Transcript
Nov 19, 2012

South Asian Nations Split on How to Deal with China

(Image source: The Wall Street Journal)

 

 

BY ZACH TOOMBS

 

 

Confusion and miscommunication characterized a meeting of south Asian countries this week, as they tried — and failed — to present a united front in dealing with a more aggressive China.

 

China lays claim to almost the entirety of the South China Sea. It’s a region rich in oil and fishing resources and flush with trade routes. But parts of the sea are also claimed by nations like the Philippines and Malaysia.

 

The contention has been ongoing for almost a decade, but China is becoming increasingly assertive in the region, dedicating more naval resources to patrolling areas it claims as its own.

 

The United States has countered by placing more troops and ships across south Asia. President Barack Obama’s trip to the region this week is seen as yet another signal that America hopes to check China’s progress there and develop stronger alliances.

 

But the official alliance that spans all the major players in south Asia is hitting roadblocks. The Association of Southeast Asian Nations had hoped to establish a common position on the South China Sea issue before hosting Mr. Obama and Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao this week. But, as of yet, they’re not on the same page.

 

The Financial Times reports:

 

“Cambodia, the chair of [ASEAN] and an important China ally, which said the bloc had agreed not to raise the South China Sea disputes...”

 

But the president of the Philippines says that’s not true, saying:

 

“There were several views expressed yesterday on Asean unity which we did not realise would be translated into an Asean consensus...”

 

According to Voice of America, China would rather conduct negotiations over the South China Sea on a one-on-one basis.

 

China is interested in negotiating a solution to the disputes with individual countries rather than the bloc. Any ASEAN consensus to not internationalize the issue, then, could be seen as playing into China's hands.

 

All the while, China continues grappling for more territories to its east — claiming a chain of islands it calls the Diaoyu and Japan refers to as the Senkaku Islands. Talks to resolve that issue have also failed to progress.

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