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In Asia : China scores diplomatic coup in sea row

In Asia : China scores diplomatic coup in sea row

Vietnam is on its own to have stronger language on the South China Sea.

China has always taken ASEAN as a priority in its foreign diplomacy and has always supported ASEAN in taking a central role in regional cooperation and a bigger role in dealing with global and regional affairs, he said.

The code of conduct framework was useful to build confidence, said Philippine security expert Rommel Banlaoi, but was not enough to manage and prevent conflict in the South China Sea.

The South China Sea chapter in the latest draft communique, a negotiated text subject to changes, is a watered-down version of one issued in Laos past year.

The framework papers over the big differences between Asean nations and China, said Patrick Cronin of the Center for a New American Security.

"If there is no major disruption from outside parties, with that as the precondition, then we will consider during the November leaders' meeting, we will jointly announce the official start of the code of conduct consultation", Wang said.

China claims nearly the entire South China Sea, through which about $5 trillion in goods pass every year.

"We strongly call upon the DPRK [North Korea], as a participant in the ASEAN Regional Forum [ARF], to positively contribute to realize the ARF's vision to maintain the Asia-Pacific as a region of lasting peace, stability, friendship and prosperity", the statement added.

To convene a meeting at the end of August "to discuss the modalities for the negotiations of the actual Code of Conduct, with the approved framework as the basis for the talks".

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A half-century ago when ASEAN came into being, with just five members, now expanded to 10, China was enmeshed in the Cultural Revolution, Mao Zedong was still very much alive, the Gang of Four was asserting itself and the rise and rise of Deng Xiaoping was 11 years away.

Critics of China have accused it of trying to divide ASEAN with strong-armed tactics and chequebook diplomacy, enticing smaller countries in the bloc such as Cambodia and Laos to support it.

Wang outlined a seven-point proposal for the future.

Second, to synergize the Belt and Road initiative and the Master Plan on ASEAN Connectivity, and further expand the scope and dimension for bilateral cooperation.

Fifth, to fully implement the China-ASEAN Joint Statement on Production Capacity Cooperation and boost each other's industrialization process.

Vietnam has issued a statement that would be taken up for discussion in the ASEAN regional forum.

Seventh, to expedite negotiations on the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership and lead the process of regional integration together.

On Saturday, ASEAN foreign ministers adopted a separate joint statement on the situation in the Korean Peninsula, with its provisions being included into the final joint communique.


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