Jakarta: A joint statement by south-east Asian nations on the South China Sea has highlighted the “powerlessness” of ASEAN and the “significant divide” between countries in the region, as China continues to exert pressure on some members over the issue, an expert says.
After days of talks at a meeting in Laos and a deadlock over what they would publicly present, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations released a joint statement with China late on Monday, saying all parties had undertaken to “exercise self-restraint” and resolve their territorial and jurisdictional disputes in the waters by “peaceful means”.
The Chinese government has issued a white paper saying it will not recognise or enforce an international ruling on disputed territories in the South China Sea. Vision courtesy ABC News 24.
It’s the first time the foreign ministers have met since the UN-backed Permanent Court of Arbitration handed down its decision into the dispute between the Philippines and China, dismissing the latter’s “historic rights” to vast areas of the South China Sea.