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10 Agosto 2017, 05:14 | Azura Castelo
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VIETNAM urged other Southeast Asian nations to take a stronger stand against Chinese expansionism in the South China Sea, as a tense regional security forum began Saturday with North Korea also under fire over its nuclear program.
The ministers also called for a proposed code of conduct in the South China Sea, to be negotiated by China and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), to be "legally binding, meaningful, effective, and consistent with worldwide law". For their part, United States diplomats have attempted to reassure ASEAN current USA interests in the region extend beyond a bargaining chip for China to wrangle Pyongyang.
While not wanting to prejudge the issue, Dr Balakrishnan said that countries must bear in mind the "ultimate goal is peace, stability and confidence building in the South China Sea".
China insists that a much-delayed code of conduct between it and ASEAN members over the disputed sea must not be legally binding, a demand to which Southeast Asian countries have so far acquiesced.
"But the Philippines is trying very hard to broker compromise language", the diplomat said.
On Tuesday, the state-run China Daily cited unnamed sources as saying Vietnam had tried to hype up the reclamation issue in the communique, pointing out that Vietnam has accelerated its land reclamation in the South China Sea.
ASEAN members Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam have overlapping claims on the waters.
The top US diplomat says the United States has been providing the Philippines with surveillance capabilities, training, information and aircraft to help it fight a monthslong siege of a southern city by pro-Islamic State group militants.
Just over a year ago, Manila was celebrating an unprecedented global ruling in its favour against China in the disputed South China Sea.
The ministers acknowledged the announced consensus on a framework for the Code of Conduct for the South China Sea (COC).
The President also called fellow ASEAN leaders "do to more" with the people at the core of the pursuit of lasting peace and security, economic prosperity, and continued cultural development.
"We've not had an extended period of time where they have not taken some type of provocative action by launching ballistic missiles", he said. Tillerson says he and the South Korean diplomat plan to discuss the sanctions during their meeting, along with next steps to pressure the North.
"As long as we commit to dialogue and consultation and worldwide law, including Unclos, we will be able to stabilize the situation and find a way out".
However, the minister said, some outside countries preferred to stay in the past, turned a blind eye to the positive change of the situation, not willing to recognized the achievement by the joint efforts by China and ASEAN, and even released negative information.
"This is really about the spirit of these talks, and they can demonstrate they're ready to sit with a spirit of finding a way forward in these talks by no longer conducting these missile tests", he said.
"In consonance, the theme of our silver jubilee celebrations (25th year of India-ASEAN dialogue partnership), which commenced earlier this year, "Shared Values, Common Destiny", is an acknowledgment of our shared socio-cultural, economic and political destiny", he said.
Regarding future cooperation, he suggested ASEAN 3 focus on trade, finance and intensifying capacity and regional connectivity, prioritising the development of micro, small and medium-sized enterprises.
The 2002 document was more strongly worded against China. According to Wang, this is to leverage the respective strengths of China and ASEAN and to support each other's industrialization process.
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