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PHNOM PENH 17 Nov 2012 ASEAN foreign ministers meet: stubborn territorial dispute a key issue
It falls to the foreign ministers of the 10-nation Association of South East Asian Nations to find a way a

November 17, 2012 - NULL

PHNOM PENH 17 Nov 2012 ASEAN foreign ministers meet: stubborn territorial dispute a key issue
It falls to the foreign ministers of the 10-nation Association of South East Asian Nations to find a way at their last meeting of 2012 to ease tensions over the South China Sea ahead of the Nov 18 ASEAN summit and the East Asia Summit. China, Vietnam, Brunei, Malaysia and the Philippines claim part or all of the waterway - maritime territory rich in natural resources, including oil. China is backing up its claim to all of the disputed area with military muscle. There is

PHNOM PENH 17 Nov 2012 ASEAN foreign ministers meet: stubborn territorial dispute a key issue
It falls to the foreign ministers of the 10-nation Association of South East Asian Nations to find a way at their last meeting of 2012 to ease tensions over the South China Sea ahead of the Nov 18 ASEAN summit and the East Asia Summit. China, Vietnam, Brunei, Malaysia and the Philippines claim part or all of the waterway - maritime territory rich in natural resources, including oil. China is backing up its claim to all of the disputed area with military muscle. There is no breakthrough in sight, and Beijing won't sign the code of conduct to manage the competing claims. It has agreed to join talks, perhaps as soon as September.

Without China's good-faith participation in talks at several diplomatic levels ahead of the summit, ASEAN's Declaration on the Conduct of the Parties to the South China Sea appears unlikely to resolve any claims or do more than pull the region back from conflict for a while.

The agreement to talk represents a concession from China. For trade reasons, Beijing wants good relations with ASEAN countries, but insists ASEAN is not the forum to debate the South China Sea issue. On that delicate matter, Beijing insists on dealing with claimant countries individually.

The ministers will be setting up the final foreign policy areas of the summit agenda at the November meeting. North Korea's nuclear ambitions are a certain inclusion.

Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam make up ASEAN. The 18-member East Asia Summit, groups ASEAN members with China, Russia, Australia, New Zealand, India, Japan and South Korea. (WRITTEN JULY 2012)

RELATED READING:

Why won't China sign the South China Sea code of conduct? (CSN 12 Jul 2012)
http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Global-News/2012/0712/Why-won-t-China-sign-the-South-China-Sea-code-of-conduct

China Ready to Join Talks on South China Sea (12 Jul 2012)
http://www.voanews.com/khmer-english/news/China-Ready-to-Join-Talks-on-South-China-Sea-162199665.html

US to Assure ASEAN on China During Meetings (5 Jul 2012)
http://www.voanews.com/content/asian-cambodia-meetings/1364157.html

Wary Neighbors Turn Into Partners in a Quickly Developing Southeast Asia (NYT http://www.nytimes.com/2012/07/06/world/asia/asean-nations-become-more-integrated.html)

Philippines urged to act cooperatively (People's Daily 4 Jul 2012)
http://english.peopledaily.com.cn/90883/7864687.html

Lowering the risks of conflict in the Asia-Pacific (Japan Times 6 Jul 2012)
http://www.japantimes.co.jp/text/eo20120706a1.html

Date written/update: 2012-11-17