09 March 2016
China has proposed setting up a cooperation mechanism for coastal states in the South China Sea, as part of efforts to improve maritime collaboration with South-east Asia.
But with tensions still high in the contested waters, its Foreign Minister Wang Yi staunchly defended China’s building of defence facilities, while accusing other countries of militarising the region.
Speaking at a press conference yesterday on the sidelines of China’s annual legislative meeting, Mr Wang said Beijing was “willing to explore the possibility of establishing a South China Sea littoral states cooperation mechanism” when he addressed the China-Asean relationship, which celebrates its 25th anniversary this year.
… Security expert Li Mingjiang of the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies feels the mechanism would likely focus on “softer” matters like environmental protection. “On matters of security, China still prefers to work with Asean because having all the countries involved would help moderate some of the extreme views that may be favoured by claimant states,” he said.
GPO / IDSS / Online / Print
Last updated on 10/03/2016