China Asked To Speed Up Maritime Security Talks

Posted by Joseph R. Fonseca
Sunday, May 11, 2014
Naval clashes

 

Southeast Asian foreign ministers voiced "serious concerns" on Saturday over naval clashes between Vietnam and China as the regional group's top official urged Beijing to step up efforts to advance talks on maritime security.

Foreign ministers and heads of state of the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) are facing a test of unity at their summit this weekend as some members express alarm over China's growing assertiveness in the disputed South China Sea and push for a strong joint statement.

Tensions ratcheted up in the past week after China positioned a huge oil rig in an area also claimed by Vietnam, with each country accusing the other of ramming its ships in the region close to the disputed Paracel Islands.

ASEAN Secretary General Le Luong Minh, who is Vietnamese, told Reuters the incident added urgency to concluding talks between ASEAN and China on agreeing a code of conduct in the resource-rich sea - a set of maritime rules to ease tensions.

But he pointedly said China's efforts to conclude the talks had fallen short of ASEAN's. Despite holding three rounds of talks since last year, the discussions had yet to focus on "substantive issues," he said.

"We need efforts on both sides," he said in an interview on the sidelines of the summit in Myanmar's capital, Naypyitaw.

"On ASEAN, we have made great efforts. We need efforts on the part of China."

Tensions over the sea, which is claimed in part by four ASEAN members as well asChina and Taiwan, have strained the group's unity in recent years, resulting in an embarrassing breakdown of a summit in Cambodia in 2012.

In their statement, ASEAN foreign ministers on Saturday called for "an early conclusion" of the code of conduct and expressed concern about "increased tensions in the area".

At the summit, which ends on Sunday, countries including Vietnam and thePhilippines are pushing for a strong statement, while others - mindful of China's economic weight - are reluctant to directly criticise Beijing, diplomats say.

Myanmar, which is chairing ASEAN for the first time this year, signalled a softer approach to China.

Myanmar's government spokesman, Ye Ht, said ASEAN and China have a "very good relationship" and both recognise China's continued growth as a political and economic power should not be marred by conflict with its neighbours.

"China is not only big friends with Myanmar, but China is also the biggest trade partner with most of the ASEAN countries," he told reporters in Naypyitaw. "SoChina's peaceful rising is very important for the ASEAN region."

TERRITORIAL CLAIMS

Both Vietnam and staunch U.S. ally the Philippines have insisted the South ChinaSea be discussed at the summit.

Philippine diplomats told Reuters some member states were opposed to issuing a separate statement on the latest South China Sea dispute or mentioning the tensions in the final communiqué due to be released on Sunday.

China says territorial disputes should be discussed on a bilateral basis. It claims the entire South China Sea, putting it in conflict with Taiwan, Vietnam, thePhilippines, Malaysia, and Brunei. The last four are ASEAN members.

Speaking to reporters in Manila, Philippine President Benigno Aquino rejected calls from China for bilateral talks to resolve territorial issues and said dialogue will not resolve the issues that are also affecting other regional countries.

Tensions spiked in another part of the South China Sea over the past week whenBeijing demanded the Philippines release a Chinese fishing boat and its crew seized on Tuesday off Half Moon Shoal in the Spratly Islands, which both countries claim.

(Additional reporting by Nguyen Phuong Linh in HANOI, Martin Petty in BANGKOK and Manuel Mogato in MANILA; Editing by Stuart Grudgings and Sophie Hares)

Maritime Reporter June 2014 Digital Edition
FREE Maritime Reporter Subscription
Latest Maritime News    rss feeds

Navy

The Martitime Security Focus Is Shifting

Former Vice-Admiral and Commander-in-chief of the German Navy Hans-Joachim Stricker, President of the German Maritime Institute (DMI), believes that in terms of

VSTEP Wins Mexican Navy Simulator Contract

The Mexican Navy selected VSTEP to supply a Class A NAUTIS Full Mission Bridge (FMB) Simulator and 24 NAUTIS desktop trainer stations for the Naval Academy in Veracruz.

Today in U.S. Naval History: July 29

Today in U.S. Naval History - July 29 1846 - Sailors and Marines from U.S. sloop Cyane capture San Diego, Calif. 1918 - Assistant Secretary of the Navy Franklin D.

Maritime Security

The Martitime Security Focus Is Shifting

Former Vice-Admiral and Commander-in-chief of the German Navy Hans-Joachim Stricker, President of the German Maritime Institute (DMI), believes that in terms of

Crew of USCG Cutter Thetis to Return today

The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Thetis, a 270-foot medium endurance cutter based out of Key West, Florida, is scheduled to return to homeport Tuesday at 11:45 a.

UN Throws the Book at North Korea Ship Operator

A U.N. Security Council committee on Monday blacklisted the operator of a North Korean ship, which was seized near the Panama Canal last year for smuggling Soviet-era arms,

News

Rohr Dredge Continues European Expansion

Rohr International Dredge Holdings, Inc. announced that it acquired Eurl Rohr France, including its current backlog, inventory and all associated intellectual property (IPR), on July 23, 2014.

Petroecuador Tenders to Buy 3.84m bbls of Naphtha

State-run oil company Petroecuador has launched tenders to buy a total volume of 3.84 million barrels of naphtha for delivery in the coming month at Esmeraldas,

The Martitime Security Focus Is Shifting

Former Vice-Admiral and Commander-in-chief of the German Navy Hans-Joachim Stricker, President of the German Maritime Institute (DMI), believes that in terms of

Maritime Safety

Regulations Threaten Superyacht Innovation

To increase innovation within the superyacht industry, designers need to work with flag states, classification societies and naval architects to ensure regulations are workable, as said by experts.

The Martitime Security Focus Is Shifting

Former Vice-Admiral and Commander-in-chief of the German Navy Hans-Joachim Stricker, President of the German Maritime Institute (DMI), believes that in terms of

Grounded Freighter Refloated in Lake St. Clair

The Federal Rideau, a 656-foot freighter that had been hard aground in the downbound shipping channel of Lake St. Clair since early Sunday morning, was refloated

 
 
Maritime Careers / Shipboard Positions Maritime Contracts Maritime Security Maritime Standards Offshore Oil Pod Propulsion Salvage Ship Simulators Shipbuilding / Vessel Construction Sonar
rss | archive | history | articles | privacy | terms and conditions | contributors | top maritime news | about us | copyright | maritime magazines
maritime security news | shipbuilding news | maritime industry | shipping news | maritime reporting | workboats news | ship design | maritime business

Time taken: 0.0881 sec (11 req/sec)