MANILA - An expert in the affairs of the Southeast Asian region believes China is buying time when it set conditions on the formal talks on the Code of Conduct in the South China Sea.
Dr. Aileen Baviera, a former dean of the University of the Philippines Asian Center, said the conditions set by China did not come out as cooperative.
"I can imagine China still trying to stretch the process until the political circumstances are favorable... Meaning no US interference," she told ANC on Tuesday.
During the 50th ASEAN Foreign Ministers' Meeting in Manila over the weekend, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi gave 2 conditions so talks on the sea code could begin.
Wang said negotiations could begin this year "if the situation in the South China Sea is generally stable and on the premise that there is no major interference from outside parties."
The ASEAN is celebrating today its 50th founding anniversary and the rise of China, said Baviera, will be a challenge for the whole region.
She said aside from the sea disputes, China's "Belt & Road" initiative, which might trigger dependencies instead of inter-dependency, is one of the big challenges for ASEAN.