US Optimistic On West Philippine Sea Dispute

WASHINGTON (AFP) - The United States said Wednesday it saw momentum in talks between China and Southeast Asia on agreeing to a code of conduct to ease deep friction over competing claims in the South China Sea, now called the West Philippine Sea by the Philippines.

The South China Sea is likely to be high on the agenda when US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton heads next month to Cambodia for talks of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and regional powers including China.

Kurt Campbell, the US assistant secretary of state for East Asia, said he understood that a draft proposal on a code of conduct was being discussed and that the United States expected to hear more details while in Cambodia.

"What we have seen of late has been an increase in diplomacy between ASEAN and China about aspects associated with a potential code of conduct," Campbell told a conference at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

"I will say that we are frankly impressed with the level of focus that particularly ASEAN has given to this," Campbell said.

Campbell did not give more details on the potential code of conduct and acknowledged that disputes over the South China Sea are "fraught with difficulty."

"They spur nationalist sentiment across the region as a whole and it is extraordinarily important to deal with them with great delicacy," he said.

ASEAN and China agreed in 2002 to negotiate a code of conduct. But there has been little visible progress, with a rising China preferring to negotiate with each country individually instead of dealing with a unified bloc.

ASEAN foreign ministers, meeting in April in Phnom Penh, said they hoped to narrow differences and sign a code of conduct with China by the end of the year.

The Philippines and Vietnam accuse China of aggressively asserting its claims in recent years, leading to minor clashes that diplomats and military commanders fear could quickly escalate into major conflicts.

The United States have recently expanded military relations with the Philippines and Vietnam, part of what President Barack Obama's administration has cast as a growing US focus on relations with Asia.

The details of the code of conduct remained murky. US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, speaking to the annual Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore on June 2, said the code should set a binding "rules-based framework" to prevent and manage disputes.

At the annual ASEAN talks in 2010 in Vietnam, Clinton said the United States had a "national interest" in open access to the South China Sea, through which half of the world's trade flows.

Her statement generated a wide response in Asia, with Southeast Asian nations largely welcoming the remarks and stepping up cooperation with the United States but China accusing her of fanning tensions.

Campbell said Clinton was also looking to visit Laos. If confirmed, the trip would be the first by a US secretary of state to Laos since the communist victory in 1975.

The United States established normal trade ties with Laos in 2004 and has been studying ways to clean up ordnance. The United States dropped millions of bombs on Laos during the Vietnam War to cut off Hanoi's supply lines.

US relations with Laos have remained uneasy largely due to concerns over treatment of the Hmong, a hill people who assisted US forces during the Vietnam War and have since reported incidents of persecution.

Campbell and the Laotian vice foreign minister, Bounkeut Sangsomsak, met Wednesday in Washington and discussed cooperation on issues including health, education, law enforcement and anti-trafficking, the State Department said.

One signature effort of the Obama administration has been reaching out to another long-isolated nation - Myanmar.

The country formerly known as Burma has undertaken dramatic reforms since last year including allowing elections in which opposition icon Aung San Suu Kyi won a seat in parliament.

US senators said Wednesday that they expected soon to confirm Derek Mitchell as the first US ambassador to Myanmar in more than 20 years.

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. 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 movement in the West Valley Fault. The West Valley Fault has moved four times in the past 1,400 years at an interval …

  • 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