Lack of ASEAN talks on maritime row restarts negotiations with China: analyst


Posted at May 01 2017 06:19 PM

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The decision of Southeast Asian leaders to skip the mention of maritime dispute in the South China is disappointing since the bloc was not able to sustain the buildup on the issue, an analyst said.

Jay Batongbacal, professor at the UP Institute for Maritime Affairs and Law of the Sea, says the decision not to mention China’s land reclamation and militarization efforts in the disputed waters shows that ASEAN has encountered a roadblock.

“It really is an obstacle to coming up with a unified and consistent approach among ASEAN members as to how to deal with the issues on South China Sea. So we’ve gone back to square one where each individual ASEAN member has to deal with China on its own through a bilateral basis,” he said.

The ASEAN chairman's statement released on Sunday made no mention China's arbitration loss and its militarization and land reclamation in the disputed South China Sea.

The statement, however, "reaffirmed the importance of maintaining peace, stability, security and freedom of navigation and over-flight in and above the South China Sea."

-ANC Early Edition, May 1, 2017