etvfutures.com
etvfutures.com December 15, 2017


Vietnam wins United States defense pledges as tension with China grows

13 August 2017, 10:35 | Opal Carroll

No South China Sea trade-off for economic gains, Philippines says

Vietnam challenges China at security talks

China is anxious it could face fresh criticism over its actions in the South China Sea when Singapore becomes chairman of the Association of South East Asian Nations next year, and is putting pressure on the city-state to make sure that doesn't happen, according to people familiar with the situation.

One of the diplomats tells The Associated Press that Cambodia expressed concern over the issuance by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations' foreign ministers of a separate statement criticizing North Korea's two ICBM tests last month.

The diplomatic wrangling sought to build on the sweeping new North Korea sanctions passed by the U.N. Security Council a day earlier - the strongest in a generation, the US said. ASEAN released a statement mid-summit calling for full compliance with United Nations sanctions. "We'll decide what is good for us, we will decide what strategies are good for us because we are a sovereign nation", Cayetano said.

Accusations of USA involvement in the statement began nearly immediately, with Cambodia (often acting as a proxy for China in the organisation) reportedly stalling. To fend off worldwide criticisms, China became positive about holding talks with ASEAN over relevant issues.

Predictions of tense discussions between Su-yong and his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi (and a pointed snubbing from Tillerson) were proven correct. A statement from the White House says Trump and Moon "affirmed that North Korea poses a grave and growing direct threat to the United States, South Korea, and Japan, as well as to most countries around the world".

South Korean authorities told the BBC that its foreign minister Kang Kyung-wha spoke to her North Korean counterpart Ri Yong Ho on Sunday on the sidelines of a forum in Manila.

"There is a view in Beijing that Singapore is the instigator of anti-China containment policies, not just within ASEAN but also that it wants a ring of pro-U.S. partners surrounding China - Japan, India and Australia", he said.

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With the rise of a friendly leader in the Philippines, China has been spared a vocal adversary in the disputed South China Sea.

They urged claimants to refrain from land reclamation, construction of outposts and militarization of disputed features, a veiled reference to China's expansion of its defence capability on Mischief, Fiery Cross and Subi reefs in the Spratly archipelago.

"Overall, the tone was positive, the situation is calmer", he said. This Summit appears to be no different, with anonymous sources pointing at Vietnam to explain the delay.

But since Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte assumed power in June past year, he warmed up his country's relations with Beijing by placing the territorial disputes issue in the back burner.

The largest development is the prospect of a "negotiating framework for a code of conduct".

ASEAN ministers said in a communique Sunday they "warmly welcome improving cooperation" with China and are ready to begin substantive negotiation on the code of conduct, but made no mention of making it binding.



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