Asean eyes ‘win-win,’ ‘friendly’ resolution of sea disputes with China
The Association of Southeast Nations (Asean), which is led this year by the Philippines as chairman, is looking forward to forge a “win-win” solution to address maritime disputes involving Asean member-states and China.
In a news briefing, Joey Concepcion, chairperson of the Asean Business Advisory Council, said the Philippines would stand by the move of President Rodrigo Duterte to foster friendlier ties with Beijing instead of seeing it as an “adversarial” partner in dealing with the South China Sea dispute.
“We all know that China is a very strong nation,” Concepcion said. “It is to our benefit that we find a win-win solution toward these issues. Down the road, as Asean relationship develops, there will be a solution – what I always call the Asean way.”
“We don’t have the military power to challenge these big countries,. It’s almost like committing suicide,” he added. “But we have the power to develop a relationship with other countries because the Filipino people are very friendly and hospitable.”
Considering China’s population and economic status, Concepcion noted that the Philippines and other Asean member states can benefit from friendlier ties with Beijing through the tourism and exports.
“We have to see this region continuously prosper,” he said. “The relationship between China and Asean is very important and both sides have to work hard to achieve that win-win solution.”
A draft of the “chairman’s statement” to be issued at the end of the summit indicates that Asean leaders would go soft on China and would not refer to the decision of the United Nations-backed Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague that invalidated China’s claim to almost all of the South China Sea. /atm
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