18 July 2016
The fallout from a landmark ruling on the South China Sea will cloud the atmosphere of the Asean foreign ministers’ meeting in Vientiane this week.
The Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague declared last Tuesday that large areas of the sea are neutral international waters or the exclusive economic zones of other countries. It rejected China’s “historical use” argument, ruling in favour of the Philippines which filed the case in 2013.
Some people think the ruling could embolden Asean to finally take a clear, united stand on the issue. But there will be no joint statement at this week’s meting in the Lao capital, because “no consensus could be reached”, an official source said last Thursday.
… There are still a lot of unknowns and “much [will depend] on the leadership in China and the Philippines,” said Ong Keng Yong, director of the Institute of Defence and Strategic Studies at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies.
“As a former secretary-general of Asean, I wish both sides will work toward implementation of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC),” said Mr Ong.
RSIS / Online
Last updated on 20/07/2016