Published: Sun, August 13, 2017
Economy | By Annette Adams

Philippine President Wants North Korea to Become ASEAN Dialogue Partner

Philippine President Wants North Korea to Become ASEAN Dialogue Partner

China is anxious it could face fresh criticism over its actions in the South China Sea when Singapore becomes chairman of the Association of South East Asian Nations next year, and is putting pressure on the city-state to make sure that doesn't happen, according to people familiar with the situation.

Deputy FM Nguyen Quoc Dung noted that together with many other countries, Vietnam raised concerns regarding the situation in the East Sea, including the activities of reclamation, construction and militarization, while calling for maintaining principles and the stance regarding the East Sea, already specified in ASEAN documents, as well as agreed upon by ASEAN and its partners, especially the peaceful settlement of disputes, without the use or threat to use force, while respecting global law, the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea and diplomatic and legal process.

The current chairman is the Philippines, which hosted the group's foreign ministers last weekend.

San Chey, executive director of the Affiliated Network for Social Accountability said the South-China Sea remained a problem and joint statements on the disputed islands had also been a problem. The statement was finally issued on Sunday.

Contrary to the statements of Cayetano and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi that Beijing has stopped reclaiming in the South China Sea, a Washington-based think tank released satellite imagery showing that Beijing did not stop its reclamation activities in mid-2015. "They have accomplished more than that", she said.

Singapore's Ministry of Foreign Affairs declined to comment for this story.

China claims nearly the entire sea, which includes one of the world's most busy trade routes and sits stop valuable oil and gas reserves.

China's claims in the South China Sea, through which about $5 trillion in ship-borne trade passes each year are contested by Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam.

On behalf of the Government of the United States of America, we offer congratulations to the peoples and member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), as well as the ASEAN Secretariat, on the organization's 50th anniversary on August 8th. The rapprochement between President Rodrigo Duterte and his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, defused a tense standoff between the Asian neighbors last year at the disputed Scarborough Shoal, where China allowed Filipinos back to fish in October as years of thorny relations began to brighten. The President has stressed that we firmly stand behind that Arbitral Court ruling against China's claims in the South China Sea, but this is not the time to challenge China.

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