Clinton to walk tightrope with China amid rows

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will meet her Chinese counterpart in Cambodia on Thursday, keen to avoid souring ties amid a fraught background of rows between Beijing and its neighbours.

The US has made a military and economic "pivot" towards Asia in a strategic bid to counteract China's influence in the region, which is home to huge untapped resources and surging economies.

Discussions between Clinton and Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi at the ASEAN Regional Forum in Phnom Penh come amid a fresh spat over a string of remote islands claimed by Japan and China.

The sudden flare-up of new tensions, sparked by Chinese patrol boats approaching the islands on Wednesday, threatened to overshadow efforts by Southeast Asian nations to agree on a "code of conduct" for disputed waters.

Japan lodged a formal complaint and summoned the Chinese ambassador, while Beijing asserted they "have always been China's territory since ancient times, over which China has indisputable sovereignty".

Japan refers to the islands in the East China Sea as Senkaku and sees a Japanese family as the owners, while China calls them the Diaoyu.

The ten members of Southeast Asian body ASEAN have been attempting to draft a code of conduct for the South China Sea to avert conflicts and create a mechanism for settling disputes.

At the summit, Clinton is likely to try to balance support for US allies Japan, the Philippines and Vietnam -- all angered by China's recent perceived aggression in contested seas -- with efforts to keep Beijing onside, analysts say.

The resource-rich South China Sea, home to vital shipping lanes, is the subject of overlapping claims by Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia and others, but is considered almost entirely Chinese by Beijing.

China said it is prepared to discuss a code to boost trust, but it wants to settle territorial disputes bilaterally -- largely because it can bring its huge economic and military clout to bear in negotiations with small neighbours.

A senior US State Department official travelling with Clinton confirmed she will discuss the Japan incident.

The same official told reporters on Monday that the US is "going to be very clear in our determination to see progress on the (South China Sea) code of conduct."

"The entire prosperity of Asia, which is really at the centre of the global economy, rests on the maintenance of peace and stability. So the stakes could not be higher," the official added, requesting anonymity.

Wary of irking China, Clinton will also discuss several less contentious issues with Yang -- such as joint humanitarian response work.

The Philippines is leading a push for ASEAN to unite to persuade China to accept a code of conduct based on a UN law on maritime boundaries that would delineate the areas belonging to each country.

Asked about the Japan-China spat, Philippine Foreign Minister Albert del Rosario told reporters: "It looks like they're (China) becoming more aggressive every day."

Analysts say the sudden outburst over the East China Sea islands will drive anxious neighbouring countries closer to the United States.

"The Chinese huff and bluff with Japan does not augur well," said Southeast Asia expert Carl Thayer, who runs a consultancy. "China's actions have certainly pushed the Philippines towards Washington," he added.

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.

  • US renews travel warning to Mindanao
    US renews travel warning to Mindanao

    The US State Department renewed its warning about the risks of travel to the Philippines, in particular to the Sulu archipelago, certain regions and cities of Mindanao and the southern Sulu Sea area. In an update on Wednesday of a travel warning it issued Nov. 20, 2014, the State Department said US citizens should continue to defer non-essential travel to the Sulu archipelago due to the high threat of kidnapping of international travelers and violence linked to insurgency and terrorism there. …

  • Phl gains support for APEC Action Agenda
    Phl gains support for APEC Action Agenda

    The Philippine initiative to put the interests of micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) front and center in global and regional trade has made significant progress following the conclusion on Thursday of the 2nd APEC Senior Officials’ Meeting (SOM2) and Related Meetings in Boracay, Aklan. Called “The Boracay Action Agenda to Globalize MSMEs,” the Philippine proposal calls for a host of specific, concrete and practical interventions that APEC economies can implement to provide MSMEs wider …

  • Phl to join Bangkok meet on Rohingya crisis next week
    Phl to join Bangkok meet on Rohingya crisis next week

    The Philippines will join a 15-nation meeting in Bangkok, Thailand next week to address the migration crisis involving thousands of Rohingyas who escaped persecution in Myanmar and Bangladesh. Justice Secretary Leila de Lima bared this yesterday after meeting with United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) representative to the Philippines Bernard Kerblat. In an interview, De Lima said the Philippine government has been invited to the meeting. …

  • Magnitude 4.2 quake jolts Sorsogon
    Magnitude 4.2 quake jolts Sorsogon

    LEGAZPI CITY—A magnitude 4.2 earthquake hit Prieto Diaz town in Sorsogon before dawn yesterday, the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) said. …

  • Drought-resistant rice breeds bared
    Drought-resistant rice breeds bared

    SCIENCE CITY OF MUÑOZ, Nueva Ecija – Amid the searing heat, the Philippine Rice Research Institute central experiment station here has identified nine rice breeds which have been proven to be drought-resistant and produce high yields in temperatures as high as 38°C based on a recent study. Thelma Padolina, lead researcher of the study titled “Screening of rice-induced mutants for heat and drought tolerance,” identified the breeding lines as the Ballatinaw lines, PSB Rc72H and Azucena lines. …

  • Phl, US assert rights, ignore China warning
    Phl, US assert rights, ignore China warning

    The United States military will continue air and sea patrols in international waters even after the Chinese navy repeatedly warned a US surveillance plane to leave the airspace over artificial islands China is creating in the disputed South China Sea. The Philippine government also declared it would continue activities in the region, calling on China to respect freedom of navigation and aviation. “Our position on the importance of letting freedom of navigation, freedom of aviation and …

  • MM shutdown eyed for quake drill; 6 schools warned
    MM shutdown eyed for quake drill; 6 schools warned

    Electricity and mobile phone services would be cut throughout Metro Manila, and all private and government offices and businesses, including shopping malls, would be closed. That would be the situation on July 16 between 3 and 8 p.m. to simulate the scenario of a 7.2 magnitude earthquake. The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) has warned that an earthquake of that magnitude could occur and kill at least 33,500 people and injure at least 113,600 others following a …

  • Subaru XV now priced among sedans
    Subaru XV now priced among sedans

    Motor Image Philipinas (MIP), the authorized distributor of Subaru in the country, has positioned its brand new crossover SUV, the Subaru XV, well within the sedan segment’s price range. This move, according to MIP, was made to give the public an opportunity to experience the brand’s unique automotive technologies by lowering its price. Buyers of […] The post Subaru XV now priced among sedans appeared first on Carmudi Philippines. …

POLL

Should Aquino be held accountable over the Mamasapano operations?

Loading...
Poll Choice Options