05 May 2014
A code of conduct for the claimants in the South China Sea maritime disputes is not likely to materialize within the next couple of years, with the biggest party in the contest, China, dragging its feet on negotiations, some analysts in the region are predicting ahead of the ASEAN summit this weekend.
“The problem is that China really decides the pace of negotiation. The official Asean position is that they want to see an early conclusion to the code of conduct,” said Ian Storey, a senior fellow at the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies (ISEAS) based in Singapore.
He added: “Essentially you can’t have an early conclusion where one of the parties doesn’t want to have an early conclusion. In my view, China wants to drag out and prolong these negotiations as long as possible.”
The 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations’ leaders are meeting May 10-11 in Myanmar.
… Li Mingjiang, associate professor at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies in Nanyang Technological University, during his talk in the same forum, cited the same tendency of China to delay negotiations.
“Before 2011, China almost had zero interest in engaging with Asean countries to talk about a formal code of conduct… But in the midst of rising tension and disputes, of course diplomatic pressures from US and Asean countries as well, China has now agreed to talk,” Li said.
He added: “We know there’s a lot of element of delay in the Chinese tactic, of course, but at least you have started the COC process.”
GPO / IDSS / RSIS / Print
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