Asean vows unity on South China Sea—Thai official



BANGKOK — Southeast Asian nations on Wednesday vowed unity in pressing China to accept a binding code of conduct for handling disputes in the South China Sea, the Thai foreign ministry said.

Competing claims to the sea have for decades stirred tension in the region and the waterway, which is believed to sit atop vast deposits of oil and natural gas, has long been seen as one of Asia’s potential military flashpoints.

Foreign ministers from the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations agreed “to speak in one voice” while seeking an “early conclusion of a code of conduct”, a foreign ministry spokesman told AFP, without giving a timeframe.

The ministers, who held a two-day informal meeting in Thailand’s Hua Hin resort town, will meet Chinese officials in Beijing at the end of the month.

“Asean will have to speak with one voice and be unified. This does not mean speaking against anyone… Asean is united so it’s easy to discuss and talk with it,” the spokesman added.

“The code of conduct should have the objective of enhancing confidence between Asean and China… and preventing any untoward incidents from taking place in the South China Sea.”

Asean has been trying for more than a decade to secure agreement from China on a legally binding code of conduct.

China claims nearly all of the sea, even waters approaching the coasts of neighbouring countries.

It has resisted agreeing to the code, wary of giving any concessions that may weaken its claim.

A regional security forum in June saw Asean bridge internal divisions over the code.

Last year Cambodia, a staunch ally of China and Asean ‘s chair at the time, had refused to endorse a Philippine push for a tougher line with Beijing on the issue.

On Wednesday Cambodia’s deputy prime minister agreed to the unified Asean position on the code, the Thai spokesman said after the two-day discussions ended.

Asean members the Philippines, Vietnam, Brunei and Malaysia, as well as Taiwan, also claim parts of the sea.

China has refused to upgrade a 2002 “declaration of conduct” into a legally binding code, instead preferring to negotiate individually with each country.

The Philippines and Vietnam have in recent years accused it of increasingly aggressive actions to exert claims to the sea.

Chinese government vessels seized the Scarborough Shoal, a South China Sea outcrop just 230 kilometres (140 miles) east of the main Philippine island of Luzon, last year.

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  • opinyonlangpo

    “Asean will have to speak with one voice and be unified” – their own words. A dream that is yet to be realized in the future. With China’s influence in Asean, there is no guarantee on that. China can’t even follow the Declaration of Conduct, how much more for the toothless Code of Conduct. Which court will take the case of misconduct, which body will enforce it? When China flex its muscle, those who don’t want trouble keep distance. Till then, Asean will remain only as a tourism and sporting organization. And now . . . the all knowing, high and mighty Filipino frontline warriors will gang up on me again.

    • gill

      “China can’t even follow the Declaration of Conduct”

      a false proposition.
      is there any eveidence to prove your statement ?

      • opinyonlangpo

        Enlighten me please. Which part of the Declaration of Conduct did China follow?

      • gill

        which one has China broken ?

      • opinyonlangpo

        Until you tell me which one it followed, I assume that it did not follow anything on the Declaration of Conduct.

      • gill

        Presumption of innocence, you have a burden of proof.

    • hello stupids

      who starts illegal occupied the islands in the 90 and who those dump a ship in others country’s islands ? .Philippines follow the code of conduct isn’t what U talking about?

  • superpilipinas

    ASEAN is doing a good diplomatic approach.

    But PH should not rely on ASEAN only.

    It must increase the level of defense cooperation with Japan. As PH acquires more defense equipment, it must forge Japan, India, and Vietnam for a military defense alliance. The alliance can also be expanded to economic/trading alliance to have more benefit and more strength.

    • gill

      Japan will joint China happily as one nation before even considers being a ally with PH. Japan will only be an ally with PH when PH also joints China as one nation.

      • superpilipinas

        in your dreams.

        sorry to you but Japan is kicking out all the Chinese ships going near Senkaku…he-he-he

        and now it is meeting with PH for more cooperation.

      • gill

        to have a dream isn’t you prerogative right, is it ?

      • Crazy_horse101010


      • hello stupids


        is a dispute area and both sides are not allow to land on it

        and now it is meeting with PH for more cooperation.
        who is talking?

    • hello stupids

      Hello japan military are defensive only they can not come and help U

      Vietnam is happy to be with China

      India…they are only good at bullshit

      they will run out of fuel or food before they arrive in the South China Sea

      Philippines…what have U got
      U got banana to give U more strength right?


  • gill

    Japan has $10.5 trillion in debt, and unpaid war reparation to Asians. Japan will go bankrupt anytime.

    if super PH wants to be an ally with Japan, good luck.
    hopefully you can share some burdens.

    • Crazy_horse101010

      and so what who cares china has a big debt also they just lie about it. think japan is going to sink in the ocean. and why wuold the phliippines have to share their burdens you are grasping at straws and sound desperate good

  • gill

    the only two natins on this earth who broke the code of conduct agreed by all ASEAN and China are:

    PH and Vietnam.

    • blue_lights

      Because they refuse to be bullied by China which isn’t even a member state? idiot. Since when have the Philippines and China invaded anyone else in the Asean region?

      • hello stupids

        talk to Malaysian in Sabah

    • hello stupids

      not Vietnam anymore

  • hello stupids

    Foreign ministers from the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations agreed “to speak in one voice

    the other voice come from Philippines only

    So who care?

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