10 August 2014
China rebuffed a U.S. proposal for countries to refrain from “provocative” acts in the South China Sea as growing tensions over disputed territorial claims dominated a meeting of regional foreign ministers.
“It’s no understatement that what happens here matters not just to this region and to the U.S. but it matters to everybody in the world,” U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said yesterday at the first day of the Asean Regional Forum in Naypyitaw, Myanmar. “That’s why we’re encouraging claimant states to consider voluntarily agreeing to refrain from taking certain actions” that could escalate disputes, he said.
Despite China’s clashes with the Philippines and Vietnam in the South China Sea, Foreign Minister Wang Yi said that talk of rising tensions was exaggerated and questioned the motives of those calling for limiting activities in the region.
… “For the Chinese, the issue is decided and clear, they have sovereignty over most of South China Sea,” said Richard Bitzinger, a senior fellow at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies in Singapore. “They just need to get everyone else to sign off on it.” Barring acquiescence from the rest of Asean, “there will be a standoff,” he said.
GPO / IDSS / RSIS / Online
Last updated on 13/08/2014