4-way maritime talks in Manila next week postponed


MANILA, Philippines—The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) on Friday said that the talks on the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea) dispute in Manila next week among four Southeast Asian claimant countries have been postponed.

“It will not happen this coming December 12, but the parties are working on it,” DFA Assistant Secretary Raul Hernandez told reporters when asked about updates on the matter.

Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert Del Rosario earlier announced that four Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) members claiming territories in the disputed sea—Brunei, Malaysia, Philippines, and Vietnam—agreed to hold talks in Manila on December 12 to see how they could move forward discussions on their territorial disputes with China.

When pressed by reporters about the reasons for the postponement of the meeting, Hernandez did not elaborate, saying that the main problem was “scheduling.”

“I was told that they wanted to have a common, convenient schedule for all parties concerned,” Hernandez said.

Asked whether the postponement was due to an influence from any party, Hernandez said that he did not want to speculate “but the challenge is really to find a common schedule for those who will be attending the meeting.”

“They’re trying to find a common schedule and when they find one they’ll let us know,” Hernandez said. He added that he was informed about the postponement on Thursday.

China claims nearly the entire sea, while the Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei, Vietnam, and Taiwan claim parts of the area, believed to be the site of oil and gas deposits.

The report last week of China’s plan to board and seize ships that enter what it claims its territory in the disputed sea has sparked alarm in Southeast Asia, with Philippine, Vietnam, and US governments demanding a clarification on Beijing’s latest move.

China’s purported plan came days after it issued new passports bearing a map showing China’s nine-dash claims in the West Philippine Sea. Both the Philippines and Vietnam have refused to stamp the Chinese e-passports in protest of China’s claims.

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  • Pert Cabatana

    disappointing postponement. If the 4 parties were truly committed to work together on the issue, their collective sense of urgency should dictate that they meet asap. The postponement can only mean that major  behind-the-scene muscling by big powers is at play. I hope the big powers have our interests in mind. 

    • Kaizensigma

       The big powers only have their own interest in their mind. That’s the sad reality, so keep on dreaming about your old white colonial big brother to come to your rescue. Your brother is dealing with its own set of problems: agfan and iraq war fatigue, $trillion debt owed to your supposedly enemy, unemployment of its work force, trade gap with the rest of the world, the looming fiscal cliff and the automatic cuts in military spendings. Your big brother knows only one nation has enough US$ in reserve to continue to buy its sovereign debts so it could continue to maintain its living standards. Your “supposedly” puny $80B in cash reserve is not even enough to pay for California’s fiscal problems.   

  • patriot2008

    I smell the backdoor evil or influence of China doing its poison in this postponement

    • Kaizensigma

      China does not even have to do anything. She knows there are complicated overlapping claims about these “temp allies”.  In the end only the stronger among them will prevail. The likely scenario is for the first round: Malaysia, Burnei and Phl vs Vietnam. And we already know what the outcome will be, Vietnam will licked all 3. The final round will be between Taiwan and Vietnam, the outcome is not certain. Regardless, the final victor will claim all and then will have to deal with China. So all China has to do is wait until the dusts settles among these temporary allies of today. By then China would be 100x stronger than today. So who gets the last laugh?     

      • DakuAkongUtin

        Kayus and Vgooks are bound to backstab each other to the end. Both come from backstabbing cultures, with Vietnam as the worse. Im glad China whup their smelly azzes back in 1979 and 1988.

  • Marlou Wang

    It seems to me that Malaysia, Brunei, and Vietnam has more Chinese blood in their blood vessels  than we do.

  • Matt Lee

    No surprise, there are overlapping claims between PI – Vietnam, PI – Malaysia, PI – Brunei, Malaysia – Brunei,  Malaysia – Vietnam, and maybe Brunei – Vietnam. You don’t need influence from China or outside powers to make this talk go down the tube. 

    • ofwme2807

      China is not invited or a party in this meeting..Mind your own business don’t mess or interfere with the other claimants’ countries in the WPS meeting or agenda they want to discuss whatever they want..We are free to do whatever we want to do and so is greedy China…Are you insecure with this meeting???

      • Kaizensigma

        Temporary allies today for convenience. A shooting war between these so called temporary allies, (brunei, malaysia, taiwan, phl and vietnam) will commence just as soon as their difference with China is resolved. The reality is there are many difference between these so call allies of today. There are complicated overlapping claims among themselves. The issue is more complicated than meets the eye.

        In the end, nobody gains. There will either be a new stalemate among these temp allies, a shooting war, or the strongest among them will emerge and the winner will in the end take all.

        It reminds me of the familiar old story of bank robbers, when after the heist one decided because the bank was closer to him demanded a larger pie, while the others also got greedy, came up with their own phantom demands. A shoot out follows and they all end up killing each other. And in the end the booty goes back to the bank. By then, when they are in hell, wished they had not been so greedy and instead sat down to agree on a “joint exploration”! Sounds familiar…?  The outcome is predictable.         

      • ofwme2807

         we dont care with your comment whatever never mind….mind your own business….

      • Kaizensigma

         Obviously , the truth hurts!

      • Matt Lee

        Actually, that’s the message of my post. Comments below need to find a bogeyman in China for your house party postponement and all I’m saying is quit looking for a bogeyman. Between the four in the party, there’s plenty to disagree upon that can scuttle the meet in itself. Your question of being free to do whatever has nothing to do with it. 

      • ofwme2807

         Whatever it is they’re going to discuss in the meeting whether to agree or disagree in any issues, is none of you and China’s business…The meeting of the 4 other claimant countries in the WPS is their own to discuss and it is within their rights so don’t interfere period…China you call a meeting with Nokor Iran Syria and Russia on whatever issues that you want to discuss we will not care about it understand???

      • Matt Lee

        I couldn’t care less what the 4 parties want to discuss. All I’m saying to some posters here is quit blaming China that you can’t get your slumber party going. Do you understand that point? You going off on a tangent should be it’s own post, not a reply.

  • Jon

    Work on this DFA.
    This seems to be the only plausible solution to China’s expansionist ambitions. 
    And never accept their offer to hold bilateral talks.
    Strength can be found in numbers.

  • avmphil

    If, and when concrete “arrangement” is on the table, this alliance will be a fodder for Beijing to claim another piece of our “rock” and expect a reaction from Malacanang. Its obvious and noted, resources rich Malaysia is not interested to even give a line of support in recognition of our open hands and mind policy to accommodate over Muslim rebels and autonomy in Mindanao. The Vietnamese may come aboard, but that will be a calculated risk, for Malacanang
    The lingering Sabah question is still open for debate for decades and still crops up.

     Brunei is the ” Kuwait” of SEA and is equally in line with Malaysia on foreign policy, especially towards the Philippines. Our foreign policy is not fine tune to match the cultural and religious diversity of our neighbors. We take for granted that being a component in the ASEAN grouping, an untied front is possible to build a wall against Beijing’s designs in the West Philippines Sea. And its not going to materialize now, and in the near future, The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) must come up with fresh new ideas to confront an enemy that’s too close for comfort and peace.

  • DakuAkongUtin

    These four will blow each other’s brains  in the final analysis.  One buddhist country, two Islamic  devotess and one Romani Katolik. I can only see a breakdown even before it starts. All of four are backtabbing cultures and the VCongs ranked no 1 that s why China whupped their nuoc nam-smelly azzes

  • joboni96

    intsik switik 1
    asean o
    so far

    meantime ph-brunei muna
    wala masyadong overlap
    sa asean sea

  • Andrew Pc

    It is the polite way of Malaysia and Brunei telling Philippines to stop sabotaging ASEAN no more, just leave ASEAN to join the US-led TPP, then everyone will be happy. Philippines joining her white master, ASEAN member countries’ joint pursuit is on track, business flourish, it is a win-win situation, right ?
    By the way, Malaysia and Brunei won’t be that stupid as to agree to Philippines’ trick of pulling her white master in, would they ?..after China, it is their turn to be the next bully victims(of course, by Philippines and her white master).
    Anyway, eventually Philippines will manage to pull her white master in, this is to be expected but not on the name of ASEAN, ASEAN is not for Philippines to manipulate for her agenda only. ASEAN is for 10 countries ! not about Philippines only !

  • Meow Ming

    Anyway the four countries can meet anytime without announcing it. They can meet secretly if they wish for it.

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