Clinton heads to China with hopes over sea tensions

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton arrived in Beijing Tuesday after talks in emerging US ally Indonesia, where she voiced hopes for progress in managing increasing tensions in the South China Sea.

Clinton, on her third visit to the region since May, encouraged a united front among the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) as she stood firm in calling for freedom of navigation in the strategic sea.

The top US diplomat sounded an optimistic note in Southeast Asia's largest nation Indonesia, where President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono said ties between the two nations were good but could be strengthened.

"Of course we have to do more... for further enhancing and strengthening our bilateral friendship and cooperation," he told Clinton, who headed from the meeting for a visit to the headquarters of ASEAN before departing for Beijing.

On her arrival in China, where she will spend two days, Clinton immediately headed for talks with Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi.

Earlier in Indonesia she said she saw positive signs in Southeast Asia and was optimistic over progress on a code of conduct governing the South China Sea, in time for an Asia summit in Cambodia in November to be attended by President Barack Obama.

"I think we can make progress before the East Asia Summit and it's certainly in everyone's interest that we do so," she told a joint news conference with Indonesian Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa on Monday.

Clinton refrained from criticising China directly before her visit but signalled unease over Beijing's recent establishment of a remote garrison in the South China Sea where six nations have overlapping claims.

"The United States believes very strongly that no party should take any steps that would increase tensions or do anything that would be viewed as coercive or intimidating to advance their territorial claims," she said.

The United States has taken a vocal stance on the South China Sea, through which half of the world's cargo flows, as the Philippines and Vietnam accuse a rising Beijing of intimidation to exert its claims.

When Clinton visited Cambodia in July ASEAN foreign ministers for the first time failed to reach a joint communique at their annual meeting, as the nations stood divided on how to deal with an increasingly active China.

At ASEAN headquarters Tuesday, she said the US backed the bloc's goal of greater integration.

"We want to do all we can to advance ASEAN's goal of integration because we have an interest in strengthening ASEAN's ability to address regional challenges in an effective, comprehensive way," she said.

The United States and its partners believe a code of conduct would establish dialogue and mechanisms to manage disputes in the South China Sea and prevent flare-ups of the kind seen recently from escalating into full-blown conflicts.

In June Vietnam passed a law proclaiming its jurisdiction over the Paracel and Spratly islands, triggering Chinese protests. A stand-off between Chinese and Philippine vessels at Scarborough Shoal further increased tensions.

ASEAN Secretary-General Surin Pitsuwan said that in their meeting Tuesday Clinton had voiced her wish for the 10-nation bloc to speed up the process of implementing a code of conduct.

"She just wished that it would move fast, that we would get there fast, which is the intention of ASEAN and I'm sure the intention of China too," Pitsuwan told reporters after the meeting.

US relations with China have been fraught with tension, despite what US officials say is quiet cooperation in several areas including the pressuring of Iran over its disputed nuclear programme.

Chinese state media have accused Clinton of trying to contain the Asian power's rise. China claims most of the South China Sea and has generally preferred to negotiate individually with each nation instead of a united ASEAN.

Clinton's last visit to China in May was overshadowed by a crisis over prominent dissident Chen Guangcheng, who fled to the US embassy after reporting beatings while under house arrest in his home in Shandong province.

China eventually allowed the blind activist, who angered authorities by exposing forced abortions under the one-child policy, to leave for New York to study.

A US official said that Clinton was expected to discuss human rights but that it was unclear if Chen's case would again come up.

Loading...

Editor’s note:Yahoo Philippines encourages responsible comments that add dimension to the discussion. No bashing or hate speech, please. You can express your opinion without slamming others or making derogatory remarks.

  • Phl, Japan sign P9.6-B ODA projects
    Phl, Japan sign P9.6-B ODA projects

    The Philippines and Japan have signed agreements for six official development assistance (ODA) projects amounting to 22.289 billion yen or around P9.6 billion. …

  • Commission to launch glossary of Pinoy meteorological terms
    Commission to launch glossary of Pinoy meteorological terms

    The Komisyon sa Wikang Filipino (KWF) will release a glossary of meteorological terms in Filipino to help the Filipino people better understand weather forecasts and instill disaster awareness among them. National Artist for Literature and KWF president Virgilio Almario said yesterday the KWF produced the glossary titled Patnubay sa Weder Forkast to simplify scientific terms used in the weather bulletins of the Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration …

  • Divorce bill good scapegoat for couples – CBCP
    Divorce bill good scapegoat for couples – CBCP

    Contrary to what romance novel writers would want their readers to believe, there are no perfect marriages in the real world. This was according to Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) president Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas. In a statement titled “CBCP Position Against the Divorce Bill and Against the Decriminalization of Adultery and Concubinage,” Villegas said that while it is not easy to make relationships last, learning how to work out differences – and …

  • DND holds off infra dev’t in Pag-Asa
    DND holds off infra dev’t in Pag-Asa

    The defense department is holding off repairs and other planned infrastructure projects on Pag-Asa Island, one of seven islets and two reefs occupied by Filipino troops in the disputed Spratly Islands. Earlier, Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario pointed out that the maintenance and repair of facilities in Pag-Asa Island are not covered by the Declaration of Conduct (DOC) of parties involved in the West Philippine Sea territorial disputes. “Repair and maintenance is okay but before …

  • Blackout to hit 5 Aurora towns
    Blackout to hit 5 Aurora towns

    An 11-hour power outage will hit five towns in Aurora on Tuesday, the National Grid Corp. of the Philippines (NGCP) announced yesterday. The NGCP said Baler, Dingalan, San Luis, Ma. Aurora and Dipaculao would be affected by the blackout. The NGCP said parts of Nueva Ecija and Aurora were hit by a power interruption yesterday due to the tripping of the Cabanatuan-Baler 69kV line. …

  • Rules set for climate change programs
    Rules set for climate change programs

    The Department of Budget and Management (DBM) and the Climate Change Commission (CCC) have released the revised guidelines to track and monitor climate change adaptation programs of the government. “The government of the Philippines has demonstrated leadership and strong commitment in implementing a comprehensive reform agenda to respond to climate change,” read the joint memorandum circular published in The STAR yesterday. “With the goal of using the budget process to plan, prioritize and …

  • It’s time to move on– Speaker
    It’s time to move on– Speaker

    The nation can now move on as President Aquino has satisfactorily explained his side on the Mamasapano incident for which he even begged for understanding, lawmakers led by Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. said yesterday. “It’s time to move on,” Belmonte said in reaction to Aquino’s pronouncements made before new police graduates at the Philippine National Police Academy (PNPA) last Thursday. The President has spoken far too much about what he knows and about his limited involvement in the …

  • ToyotaPH continues it’s strong sales in February
    ToyotaPH continues it’s strong sales in February

    Toyota Motor Philippines (TMP) sustains its strong sales in its February performance. Toyota’s strong performance last month was due to the  high demand of the Vios, with sales of 2,012 units and of course the rest of Toyota’s line up such as the Fortuner, Innova, Wigo, Hilux, Avanza and Corolla Altis. Toyota’s luxury brand, Lexus, recorded 60 units last month. …

POLL

Should Aquino be held accountable over the Mamasapano operations?

Loading...
Poll Choice Options