. Space Travel News .

ASEAN, China hail progress on South China Sea disputes
by Staff Writers
Nusa Dua, Indonesia (AFP) July 20, 2011

Southeast Asia and China on Wednesday hailed "significant" progress toward resolving disputes in the South China Sea, a strategic waterway believed to contain vast energy reserves.

After nearly 10 years of negotiations, both sides announced an agreement on non-binding guidelines for the eventual implementation of a binding code of conduct governing activities in disputed waters and islands.

The guidelines were announced at a meeting of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in Bali, Indonesia, ahead of the region's biggest security forum involving the United States on Saturday.

ASEAN Secretary-General Surin Pitsuwan called the guidelines a "breakthrough" but Philippine Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario said they lacked teeth and substance.

One of four ASEAN states with territorial claims in the sea, the Philippines, said this week it would seek UN arbitration to define the areas under contention after China rejected other appeals for independent mediation.

But Vietnam, another ASEAN claimant which has accused China of taking an increasingly aggressive posture, said the agreement was a positive development.

"This is a significant and good start for us to work together to continue dialogue and cooperation," Vietnamese official Pham Quang Vinh said.

Tensions have risen markedly in recent weeks, with several incidents involving claims and counter-claims of aggression on the high seas and provocative movements of military forces.

China's Assistant Minister of Foreign Affairs Liu Zhenmin said the officials would submit the draft guidelines to their ministers Thursday for final endorsement, as he tried to play down any rifts.

"This is an important milestone document on the cooperation among China and ASEAN countries," Liu told reporters.

The draft guidelines talk of "possible joint cooperative activities, measures and projects" and and other confidence-building measures, but make no mention of when a binding code would be in place.

A diplomatic source, who asked not to be named, said the list of approved projects had been whittled down to include such "harmless" activities as joint rescue operations and marine studies.

Surin said a final settlement of the disputes was vital to regional stability and prosperity, but he could not say when a fully fledged code of conduct would be finalised.

"All of us are aware that we have become critical to the global community economically," he told AFP.

"Any situation that will impair the confidence in the region will certainly impact on our role and our potential."

In the latest incident to spark concern, five Filipino lawmakers flew to an island in the disputed Spratly chain to plant a Philippine flag on a government building in disregard of warnings from Beijing.

Meanwhile, China's People's Daily, a Communist Party mouthpiece, warned the United States against interfering on behalf of its ASEAN allies such as the Philippines.

"We do not support raising bilateral disputes in multilateral settings and oppose the interference of external powers in this issue," it said.

The United States has risen to the defence of its ally the Philippines, pledging help to modernise its navy and calling on China to lower the temperature in the region.

It also claims a "national interest" in keeping the sea's shipping lanes open for business.

Taiwan, China and ASEAN members Philippines, Vietnam, Brunei and Malaysia have overlapping claims to parts of the region.

ASEAN's other members are Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Myanmar, Singapore and Thailand.

On Saturday, the ASEAN foreign ministers will be joined by US Secretary of State State Hillary Clinton and Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi at the bigger ASEAN Regional Forum focused on security issues.

Related Links
Powering The World in the 21st Century at Energy-Daily.com

Get Our Free Newsletters Via Email
Buy Advertising Editorial Enquiries

. Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

South China Sea tensions rise ahead of ASEAN meet
Nusa Dua, Indonesia (AFP) July 19, 2011
The war of words between China and the Philippines over disputed islands in the South China Sea escalated on Tuesday, ahead of a key regional security dialogue in Indonesia. China's embassy in the Philippines warned that plans by five Filipino lawmakers to visit the disputed Spratly archipelago - in what Manila calls the the West Philippine Sea - could damage bilateral ties. "It... ser ... read more

ILS Proton Successfully Launches the SES-3 Satellite for SES

Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle Launches GSAT-12 Satellite

Countdown commenced for PSLV-C17/GSAT-12 Mission

SpaceX Names Mark Bitterman Senior Vice President of Government Affairs

NASA in Australia for Mars research

Mars Opportunity Rover Nears Endeavour Crater Rim

Two Possible Sites for Next Mars Rover

Scientists uncover evidence of a wet Martian past in desert

Twin Artemis Probes To Study Moon In 3D

Marshall Center's Bassler Leads NASA Robotic Lander Work

NASA puts space probe into lunar orbit

ARTEMIS Spacecraft Prepare for Lunar Orbit

Neptune Completes First Orbit Since Discovery In 1846

Clocking The Spin of Neptune

Scientist accurately gauges Neptune's spin

Williams and MIT Astronomers Observe Pluto and its Moons

Ten new distant planets detected

Microlensing Finds a Rocky Planet

A golden age of exoplanet discovery

CoRoT's new detections highlight diversity of exoplanets

Planetary Science Institute Selects XCOR To Fly ATSA Suborbital Observatory

PSLV-C17 to Launch GSAT-12 on July 15, 2011

Astrium signs up for Next Gen Launcher High Thrust Engine

NASA Will Compete Space Launch System (SLS) Boosters

China launches new data relay satellite

Time Enough for Tiangong

China launches experimental satellite

China to launch an experimental satellite in coming days

NASA Spacecraft to Enter Asteroid's Orbit on July 15

Comet Hartley 2 Leaves a Bumpy Trail

Dawn Nears Start of Year-Long Stay at Giant Asteroid

First-Ever View of a Sungrazer Comet In Front of the Sun

Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily Express :: SpaceWar Express :: TerraDaily Express :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News

The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2011 - Space Media Network. AFP and UPI Wire Stories are copyright Agence France-Presse and United Press International. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement