Posts Tagged ‘ASEAN’
BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN, April 11 (Xinhua) — ASEAN foreign affairs and trade ministers on Thursday held meetings and discussed, among others, the progress made since the 21st ASEAN Summit, including political and security cooperation.
The ASEAN Ministerial Meetings in preparation for the 22nd ASEAN Summit were held at the International Convention Centre.
ASEAN ministers discussed the on-going work on the publication of the ASEAN Security Outlook, and received reports from various ASEAN bodies for submission to the ASEAN leaders.
A press release issued following the closed-door meetings said ASEAN ministers emphasized the importance of maintaining peace, stability, mutual trust and cooperation to enhance maritime security, and of ensuring the peaceful resolution of disputes in the South China Sea in accordance with universally recognized principles of international law.
The ministers also reiterated the need for all parties to exercise self-restraint in the conduct of activities that would complicate or escalate disputes.
The ministers reiterated their Statement on the Six-Point Principles on the South China Sea, and emphasized the need to maintain momentum on dialogue and consultations following the positive outcome of the 19th ASEAN-China Senior Officials consultation.
The ministers tasked their senior officials to work actively with China on the way forward for the early conclusion of the code of conduct on the basis of consensus, the press release said.
China says disputes over the sovereignty of some islands in the South China Sea and the overlapping of ocean rights in some parts of the region should be solved by the countries concerned through dialogue and negotiation on the basis of respecting history and international laws.
MANILA, Aug. 10 (Xinhua) — The Cambodian Foreign Ministry has recalled its top diplomat to the Philippines, the Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs said Friday, more than a week after Manila protested the envoy’s scathing criticisms of the Aquino administration’s position on the South China Sea territorial disputes.
Ambassador Hos Sereythonh’s recall was relayed to the Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs through a note verbale sent by the Cambodian Foreign Ministry via its embassy in Manila early this week, Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario said.
Hos will leave Manila on Aug. 17, Del Rosario said.
Del Rosario said the note verbale or diplomatic note states that Hos “was being replaced,” but offers no explanation on why he is being removed from his post.
Del Rosario believes that Hos’ recall will not have a negative impact on Manila’s bilateral ties with Cambodia.
The recalled Cambodian envoy’s harsh criticisms against the Philippines are the latest twist in the brewing animosity between the two neighbors, which are both members of the 10-member Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN). Other countries that make up the ASEAN are Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei, Laos and Myanmar.
“I don’t think it affects the bilateral relations at all,” Del Rosario told reporters on the sidelines of the commemoration of the 45th anniversary of the ASEAN his department.
“We’re looking forward to healthy bilateral relations with Cambodia,” he said.
In a press briefing, Foreign Affairs spokesman Raul Hernandez said the Cambodian Foreign Ministry sent separate notes verbale to the Philippine Embassy in Phnom Penh last Friday and to the Department of Foreign Affairs in Manila early this week.
The ministry, he said, did not elaborate on its reason for cutting short the Cambodian envoy’s tour of duty, Hernandez said.
“Cambodia is an ASEAN member and a friend. We hope the Cambodian ambassador will (still) help reinforce the friendship that exists between our two countries,” he added.
HANOI, Aug. 9 (Xinhua) — Foreign ministers from the member countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) all support Vietnam’s nomination of one of its deputy foreign ministers as the next ASEAN secretary-general, the Vietnamese foreign ministry spokesperson said here Thursday.
Spokesperson Luong Thanh Nghi said at a regular press briefing that all the ASEAN foreign ministers expressed support to the nomination of Vietnam’s Deputy Foreign Minister Le Luong Minh as ASEAN secretary-general for the 2013-2017 tenure.
The nomination, which was made during the recent 45th ASEAN Ministerial Meeting, will be considered by ASEAN high-ranking officials at the association’s summit slated for November in the Cambodian capital Phnom Penh.
AFP, 8/8/2012 JAKARTA – Indonesia warned Wednesday of a “risk of further tensions” between nations with overlapping claims to swathes of the South China Sea if a “collective and common approach” is not soon agreed.
Members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) were split in their views on the maritime dispute during the Phnom Penh meeting of foreign ministers in July, and the bloc for the first time in its 45-year history failed to deliver a joint communique.
“This is an issue that demands ASEAN’s and China’s collective and common approach and action, otherwise the risk of further tensions are very much ahead of us,” Indonesian Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa told reporters on the sidelines of ASEAN’s 45th anniversary celebrations.
“In the absence of a code of conduct, we may be risking more incidents in the future.”
Natalegawa toured the region after the ASEAN summit to push for progress on the long-stalled code of conduct, designed to reduce tensions over fishing, shipping rights and oil and gas exploration in the South China Sea.
Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi will visit Indonesia, Brunei and Malaysia from Thursday, and Natalegawa said he hoped to “compare notes on where we are on the South China Sea” with him.
China claims sovereignty over almost all of the resource-rich sea, which is home to vital shipping lanes, but the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia and Brunei have overlapping claims.
Vietnam is scheduled next year to appoint a secretary general to head ASEAN after the five-year tenure of Thailand’s Surin Pitsuwan comes to an end.
Vietnam frequently trades diplomatic barbs with China over oil exploration, fishing rights and the Spratly and Paracel Islands, which both countries claim as their own.
YANGON, Aug. 8 (Xinhua) — Myanmar is committed to accomplishing its obligations for the progress and perpetuation of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) while the country is sharing the fortune of ASEAN with other member nations in political, economic and social spheres, Myanmar President U Thein Sein said on Wednesday.
In his message on the occasion of the 45th ASEAN anniversary, Thein Sein stressed the need to endeavor toward the full realization of the Bali Concord-3 “ASEAN Community, in the Global Community of Nations” adopted by ASEAN leaders at the 19th ASEAN Summit in Bali, Indonesia.
Warning that there are also challenges at the time ASEAN is making achievements, Thein Sein emphasized the need for ASEAN people including those of Myanmar to do their utmost in the regional integration efforts, aimed at reducing the development gap among member nations and implementing the master plan on ASEAN connectivity as identified by ASEAN leaders in the Phnom Penh Declaration and Phnom Penh Agenda at the 20th ASEAN Summit in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, in July.
Noting that Myanmar is moving towards a modern and developed nation with disciplined democracy, he said the mission that Myanmar is undertaking is dedicated to the interest of the state and the people and it is also in line with the principles of ASEAN.
He urged the Myanmar people to contribute to maintaining ASEAN solidarity and ASEAN’s centrality in addressing regional and international issues, to strive for the emergence of a people- centered community and to exert efforts to play a more pronounced role in ASEAN in accordance with the active, independent and non- aligned foreign policy of Myanmar as well as to strive for the successful chairmanship of ASEAN in 2014.
Myanmar joined ASEAN in July 1997. In 2011, the ASEAN Inter- Parliamentary Assembly granted Myanmar’s parliament a full-fledged membership.
PHNOM PENH, Aug. 7 (Xinhua) — Cambodia, as the chair of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in 2012, will celebrate the 45th anniversary of ASEAN Day on Wednesday, according to a press release from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Tuesday.
The commencement of ASEAN flag hoisting will be presided over by Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Hor Namhong on Wednesday morning at the ministry, the press release said.
In the evening, there will be a reception, which will be presided over by Prime Minister Hun Sen with the participation of Dr. Surin Pitsuwan, Secretary General of the ASEAN.
Both Hun Sen and Pitsuwan will deliver their speeches at the event.
Founded on Aug. 8, 1967, the ASEAN groups Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.
Philippine Foreign Undersecretary Erlinda Basilio did well to explain ― in print ― “[w]hy there’s no ASEAN joint communique” that came out of last week’s big regional meeting at Phnom Penh. Until I read her essay yesterday, all
I had read about was China’s going to town with its “success” at ASEAN, portraying the Philippines as an isolated state pathetically abandoned by its fellow ASEAN countries, all of them bowing before China’s might and meekly going along with the regional bully.
Basilio explodes that myth in categorical yet sober language (and even that level of restrained candor, I am unused to getting from our diplomats).
No, the Philippines wasn’t abandoned by its ASEAN neighbors who, in fact, already supported an earlier statement circulated by Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario on the standoff at Scarborough Shoal. One foreign minister wrote the ASEAN chair on the “necessity for ASEAN to issue a timely statement by the foreign ministers… as our common effort to contribute to the maintenance of an environment conducive in the region which is of interest [to] all of us.”
The Singaporean foreign minister, K. Shanmugan, wondered aloud on his website how ASEAN “was unable to deal with something that is happening in [its] neighborhood and not say something about it.” In other words, it was as if ASEAN pretended there was no elephant in the room. He added: “There’s no point in papering over it. There was a consensus among the majority of countries. The role of the chair in the context is to forge a complete consensus amongst all. But that did not happen.”
But therein lay the problem. The chair happened to be occupied by Cambodia, obviously beholden to China, and it was determined to exclude any mention of Scarborough altogether. Indeed, from Basilio’s account, it was Cambodia which invoked the chair’s prerogative to quash any reference to Scarborough in the communique, in effect, a de facto veto on the majority’s support for the Philippine position.
Whatever happened to China’s much-touted “peaceful rise”? Since when did it become vicious, and why? China’s leaders devised the term “peaceful rise,” later on replaced by the less suggestive “peaceful development,” to reassure its Asian neighbors and the United States that its breakneck economic prosperity and corresponding military modernization should pose no threat to them, and that it was after all in China’s interest to have peace and stability. For a while, it led to the muting of territorial feistiness over barren islands and rocks in the South China Sea.
Basilio also exposes the canard that Secretary Del Rosario walked out of the meeting. Far from it. (In another report, I read that it was Cambodia’s foreign minister who walked out after the Philippines had already accepted a draft compromise.) Indeed, the scenario was quite the opposite. Del Rosario stayed on to say his piece. His microphone went dead, but he continued speaking to complete the Philippine statement.
Basilio diplomatically fudges whether Cambodian microphones usually conk out when foreign ministers speak but, since I am not a diplomat, I am completely free to speculate that Secretary Del Rosario’s microphone being cut off was not innocent at all.
Finally, Basilio shows that the disagreement at Phnom Penh was narrow and specific, but the consensus that the Philippines won was actually broad and substantial. The disagreement ― the one that stalled and finally killed ASEAN’s joint communique ― was on whether there will be an express reference to Scarborough. The consensus ― on which basis ASEAN can move forward despite the Cambodia-engineered debacle at Phnom Penh ― is on the key elements of a proposed Code of Conduct. I have read other reports saying that consensus affirms international law as the framework for resolving the territorial disputes. That in itself is a major step forward.
But the real triumph there is that the Code of Conduct recognizes the multilateral nature of the South China Sea problem. Again, given the game of shadows that is ASEAN diplomacy, it might have otherwise been wiser to hush up on this triumph. When it comes to victory, what’s important is to win it, not to revel in it. A little humility should be good. But the situation is different now.
The first ASEAN declaration calling for a code of conduct on the territorial disputes in the South China Sea was adopted in 1992, and it took 10 years before that declaration was joined by China in 2002. The 2002 declaration was a major step forward, and must have coincided with the time when China indeed took its “peaceful rise” to heart. Today, another 10 years have passed and obviously things have changed for China.
China has portrayed ASEAN’s failure to adopt a joint statement at Phnom Penh as China’s triumph, but it merely succeeded in portraying it as ASEAN’s defeat. In other words, by gloating about how it prevailed in Phnom Penh, this sordid episode should remind other ASEAN countries why it is so important for them to band together against their biggest, most powerful neighbor. Already, just days after Phnom Penh, China has upped the ante and announced newer initiatives in islands belonging to the Kalayaan Islands Group that are covered as part of Philippine territory under our latest Baselines Law.
In other words, China is using the Cambodian veto over the ASEAN joint communique to build momentum not just over the five scattered rocks at Scarborough but over the Spratly islands archipelago themselves.
We should capitalize on China’s aggressive streak to galvanize further international support for our position. Let the Phnom Penh meeting be one step backward, and foster global outrage to push us two steps forward.
(Sic! Lee is a full blooded Hakka of China, his motherland backhand bitten snake in disguise and a lapdog)
According to a leaked cable from the US Embassy in Singapore, Lee told US officials that ASEAN should not have admitted Cambodia, Myanmar, Laos and Vietnam as members, fearful that some might act as a pro-Chinese fifth column within ASEAN.
PHNOM PENH – The official theme for Cambodia’s chairmanship of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) is “One Community, One Destiny” – but the outcomes of this year’s meetings highlighted the bloc’s growing divisions on the issue of China.
Last week in the Cambodian capital, the Foreign Ministers’ meeting came to an acrimonious end when delegates from the 10-member bloc failed to issue their customary joint communique – the first time they have failed to do so in ASEAN’s 45-year history – after disagreements over the territorial disputes in the South China Sea.
China claims sovereignty over most of the resource-rich sea, but four ASEAN nations – the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia and Brunei – have advanced competing claims. Last week’s meetings were overshadowed by a flare-up over a group of islands known as the Scarborough Shoal, a fish-rich reef claimed by both China and the Philippines. The two countries had a military stand-off over the shoal earlier this year, sending ships to the area.
During ASEAN talks on the creation of a Code of Conduct, which would govern the behavior of ships in the disputed maritime areas, Manila tried to insert reference to the Scarborough Shoal, but claims it was blocked by Cambodia – a close ally of China.
ASEAN Secretary General Surin Pitsuwan called the meeting’s outcome “very disappointing”, while Indonesian Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa said it was “utterly irresponsible” that the grouping could not come up with a joint statement on the South China Sea dispute.
Cambodian Foreign Minister Hor Namhong blamed unnamed “member countries” for trying to forcibly include a mention of the Scarborough Shoal issue in the final communique. He called these requests “unacceptable”, and laid the blame for the breakdown on “the whole of ASEAN”.
In response, the Philippines said in a statement that “it deplore[d] the non-issuance of a joint communique” and took “strong exception” to Cambodia’s actions, arguing that they undermined previous agreements to tackle the South China Sea disputes as a unified bloc – rather than bilaterally, as China would prefer.
Philippine Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario told Bloomberg that the impasse was a result of Chinese “pressure, duplicity [and] intimidation”.
Similar tensions were also apparent at the annual ASEAN Summit in April, when Cambodia kept the South China Sea dispute off the official agenda. Some analysts suggested that Chinese President Hu Jintao, who arrived on a high-profile state visit just days before the opening of the summit, had pressured Phnom Penh over the issue.
The recent tensions highlight just how far Chinese influence has increased in Cambodia in recent years. Beijing’s offers of hefty amounts of loans and investment dollars unconstrained by human-rights or good governance concerns has been eagerly taken up by Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen, who resents the conditions often attached to Western aid.
Chinese state banks today bankroll the construction of roads, bridges, hydropower dams, real estate developments and tourist resorts in Cambodia. Over the past decade, these loans and grants have run into the billions of US dollars, and official delegations shuttle back and forth between the two countries each year.
Monetary attachment Despite Hun Sen’s claims that China’s support is offered without strings, Beijing’s economic clout has bought the country considerable political leverage in Cambodia. This was dramatically demonstrated in December 2009 when Cambodia deported 20 ethnic Uyghur asylum seekers to China. The timing of the deportation – a day before the arrival of a Chinese official carrying a $1.2 billion package of grants and loan agreements – left few in doubt that extreme pressure was brought to bear on Phnom Penh. This unspoken quid pro quo arrangement extends back as far as July 1997, when Hun Sen ousted his rival, Prince Norodom Ranariddh, in a bloody factional coup. Unlike many Western countries, which balked at the bloodshed in Phnom Penh, China immediately recognized the status quo and offered military aid. Hun Sen reciprocated by shuttering the Taiwanese representative’s office in Phnom Penh after accusing Taiwanese elements of providing support to his rivals, and in the years since has frequently voiced support for the One-China policy.
“I think it’s very difficult to deny there are no strings attached to Chinese aid and economic assistance in Cambodia,” said Lao Mong Hay, an independent political analyst based in Phnom Penh. “The attitude and position taken by Cambodia at the last [ASEAN] meeting shows that it was toeing the Chinese line.”
ASEAN, a regional grouping built on the premise of safeguarding Southeast Asian interests from outside pressure or interference, now faces an uncertain year.
Analysts say the disappointing end to last week’s foreign ministers’ meeting could undermine ASEAN unity on the vital South China Sea issue, making it that much more difficult to negotiate a Code of Conduct with China.
“Cambodia’s single act of obstinacy is a reflection of China’s influence and not Cambodian interests,” said Carlyle Thayer, an analyst at the Australian Defence Force Academy in Sydney, adding that it would likely “poison” ASEAN proceedings until the next round of summits in November.
However, the dispute could potentially have deeper implications for ASEAN, cracking its unity and exacerbating the differences between the grouping’s widely diverse member states.
The bloc was founded in 1967 as a bulwark against the expansion of communism in Southeast Asia, with Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand as members.
During the 1970s and ’80s it played a strong role in the US-led isolation of communist Vietnam, and, after 1979, the Cambodian government installed by Hanoi after the overthrow of the murderous regime led by the Khmer Rouge. The end of the Cold War brought an end to the overt anti-communist posture of ASEAN, which was eventually expanded to include Vietnam (1995), Laos and Myanmar (1997), and Cambodia (1999).
But tensions have remained between the old and new members.
In 2007, Singapore’s founding father (founding dictator?), Lee Kuan Yew, identified a division between ASEAN’s original member states and the poorer nations that joined in the 1990s.
According to a leaked cable from the US Embassy in Singapore, Lee told US officials that ASEAN should not have admitted Cambodia, Myanmar, Laos and Vietnam as members, fearful that some might act as a pro-Chinese fifth column within ASEAN. (Sic! Lee is a full blooded Hakka,a backhand bitten snake)
“The older members of ASEAN shared common values and an antipathy to communism,” the cable states, quoting Lee’s views. “Those values had been ‘muddied’ by the new members, and their economic and social problems made it doubtful they would ever behave like the older ASEAN members.”
Lee particularly focused on Laos, describing it as an “outpost” of China that reported back to Beijing on the content of all ASEAN meetings – but he could easily have mentioned Cambodia, which is quickly becoming China’s most dependable ally in the region.
Thayer said last week’s imbroglio, after years of pro-unity rhetoric, was “the first major breach of the dyke of regional autonomy” created by ASEAN. “China has now reached into ASEAN’s inner sanctum and played on intra-ASEAN divisions,” he said.
In the worst-case scenario, he added, continuing disagreement could undermine the creation of the planned ASEAN Political-Security Community and potentially raise the specter of a de facto division between the mainland Southeast Asian states – Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Thailand and Myanmar – and ASEAN’s maritime states. “I don’t know how this rift is going to be overcome,” he said.
It is too soon to say whether last week’s stand-off will sound the death knell for ASEAN’s “One Community” pledge. Lao Mong Hay, for one, believes there are “serious leaders [in ASEAN] who will set out to repair the damage”. But it is quickly becoming apparent that Phnom Penh’s dependence on Chinese loans and grants is a development with regional implications.
16 Jul 2012
BANGKOK (ANN) – Thanks to its single-mindedness, Cambodia has literally brought Asean to its knees. In the organisation’s 45-year history, its foreign ministers have never failed to issue a joint communique – however vague or noncommittal – after their deliberations. In the past there have been plenty of rough times and many disagreements – not least during the Cambodian conflict. But they have never ended like this.
This time around, Cambodia, as the Asean chair, has taken an uncompromising stand on the issue of the South China Sea. Instead of trying to find common ground among all concerned parties, as the Asean chair has done in the past, the chair decided to put its national interest ahead of the grouping’s solidarity. In the long run, it will backfire on Cambodia and Asean as a whole.
It could also hurt Cambodia’s bid for a non-permanent seat on the UN Security Council next year. It will be interesting to see how the Philippines reacts. Sooner rather than later, Cambodia will realise that its action has jeopardised the grouping’s credibility.
In the absence of a joint communique on the deliberations, action cannot be taken on dozens of decisions because there is no official record, and the Asean Secretariat will not be able to do anything about it. Asean will need to take immediate remedial action.
Since its period of enlargement from 1995-1999, more than officials would like to admit, Asean’s ethos and way of doing things has changed tremendously due to new members’ different political backgrounds and habits. Only Cambodia went through serious difficulties in joining Asean due to its troubled history. Therefore, it was the last member to be admitted, in 1999. Asean had wanted all new members from the Asean-10 admitted by 1997. Since Cambodia joined, Asean has quickly developed new relations with China, once Phnom Penh’s nemesis.
China was the key supporter of the Khmer Rouge, which fought the Phnom Penh government from 1979 until well after the United Nations intervened to stage elections in the country in 1993.
For the past 12 years, Cambodia and China have built up their bilateral ties and cemented cooperation and friendship as never before. As it has with the rest of Asean’s members, China has developed a close relationship with Cambodia. But somehow, Cambodia-China relations have gone a bit further than the rest.
Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen knows China would be of great assistance in propelling the country’s economic development and its standing in the region. As the longest-reigning leader in the region, Hun Sen wants to be recognised as a leader who has brought peace and prosperity to his country and also the region. After all, it was the Cambodian conflict that threatened the region’s stability previously.
Since Cambodia took the chair of Asean, Asean-China relations have come under the world’s microscope. The rows over the overlapping claims in the South China Sea, especially those involving China, the Philippines and Vietnam, have all reared their ugly heads at about the same time.
The Philippines has gone ballistic against China over the Scarborough Shoals – known as Huanyan Island in China – in the past several months. Manila has engaged its key ally, Washington, to increase its defence capacity.
Vietnam and China are also at each other’s throats over their claims on the Spratly Islands. Each side has chosen different manoeuvring tactics. But like it or not, it has always been the Asean chair that can make or break any sensitive topic.
Asean’s unity and solidarity is of the utmost importance for the grouping’s survival and the preservation of its bargaining power. If each Asean member dwells on its own interest – as Cambodia has – then Asean has no future. The group’s consensus and non-interference policies allow each member to pursue their own interests. But there is no Asean principle that allows the rotating chair to take things into its own hands without considering the voice of the majority.
Analysts said the friction could “contaminate” future negotiations between ASEAN and China.
“Cambodia is showing itself as China’s stalking horse. This will make negotiating a final code of conduct with China more difficult,” said Southeast Asia expert Carl Thayer, who runs a consultancy.
Foreign ministers from the 10-member ASEAN bloc have this week tried to hammer out a final communique in Cambodia, which has held up progress on a draft code of conduct aimed at soothing tension in the flashpoint South China Sea.
China claims sovereignty over nearly all of the resource-rich sea, which is home to vital shipping lanes, but the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia and Brunei among others have competing claims in the area.
The Philippines lambasted the failure at the summit, saying “it deplores the non-issuance of a joint communique… which was unprecedented in ASEAN’s 45-year existence”.
It had insisted ASEAN refer to a stand-off last month with China over a rocky outcrop known as the Scarborough Shoal, but Cambodia – a Beijing ally and chair of the meeting – resisted.
Taking “strong exception” to Cambodia for opposing mention of the shoal, the Philippine statement said divisions undercut previous ASEAN agreements on tackling disputes as a unit, “and not in a bilateral fashion – the approach which its northern neighbour (China) has been insisting on”.
China is a key bankroller of Cambodia and some diplomats said Phnom Penh had played Beijing’s hand at the summit by blocking a communique mentioning specific alleged infringements.
Cambodian Foreign Minister Hor Namhong expressed regret at the discord within the organisation, but said he could “not accept that the joint communique has become the hostage of the bilateral issue (between the Philippines and China”.
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who joined the summit Thursday, had expressed hope of ASEAN unity and had urged progress on the code of conduct, which is seen as reducing the chances of conflict in the South China Sea.
Analysts said the friction could “contaminate” future negotiations between ASEAN and China.
“Cambodia is showing itself as China’s stalking horse. This will make negotiating a final code of conduct with China more difficult,” said Southeast Asia expert Carl Thayer, who runs a consultancy.
“I find it difficult to believe that ASEAN foreign ministers cannot come up with some formulation that satisfies all parties.”