The Association of Southeast Asian Nations is getting mixed reaction for its recent declaration on the South China Sea issue.
The 10 ASEAN members struggled to reach a compromise statement last week at the end of meetings in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Their final communique called for developing a required code of conduct in the disputed waters. ASEAN has been talking about establishing such a system for more than 10 years.
Benjamin Ho is a research fellow at the Institute of Defense and Strategic Studies in Singapore. He says there has been a lot of talk about the Code of Conduct. He says some Asian countries are in a hurry to have system a system enacted.
Mr. Ho thinks the possibility is very real for establishing rules of behavior. But in his words, those rules “should not be seen as a ‘be all’ and ‘end all’ for resolving the situation in the South China Sea.”
Many in East Asia believe any public statement is better than none at all. No communique was released at the ASEAN meetings in 2012, when Cambodia was the group’s chair.