Posts tagged ‘East Asia Summit’

13/11/2014

China offers ASEAN friendship treaty as South China Sea tension bubbles | Reuters

China’s Prime Minister Li Keqiang proposed a “friendship” treaty with Southeast Asian countries on Thursday but reiterated that territorial disputes in the South China Sea should be settled directly between the countries involved.

(L-R) Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott, Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Brunei's Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah, China's Premier Li Keqiang, Myanmar's President Thein Sein, U.S. President Barack Obama, Malaysia's Prime Minister Najib Razak and Russia's Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev pose for a photo before the East Asia Summit (EAS) plenary session during the ASEAN Summit in Naypyitaw November 13, 2014. REUTERS/Soe Zeya Tun

China, Taiwan and four Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) have competing claims in the sea where concern is growing of an escalation in disputes even as the claimants work to establish agreements to resolve them.

“China … stands ready to become the first dialogue partner to sign with ASEAN a treaty of friendship and cooperation,” Li told leaders at a summit of East Asian countries in Myanmar.

The treaty is seen as an attempt by Beijing to dispel any notion it is a threat.

Li added China was willing to sign legal documents with more countries in the region on good-neighborliness and friendship.

Still, the Chinese premier reiterated Beijing’s resolve to safeguard its territorial sovereignty and its position that disputes concerning the South China Sea should be settled directly rather than collectively or through arbitration.

The competing maritime claims have formed an undercurrent of tension at the East Asian and ASEAN summits in Myanmar this week.

The Philippines, one of the ASEAN claimants, has previously irked Beijing by seeking international arbitration over China’s claims to about 90 percent of the South China Sea.

Diplomatic sources from the Philippines reacted coolly to China’s treaty proposal, saying that it lacked substance and was similar to a 2012 proposal made by Manila and ignored by Beijing.

Li will meet the heads of ASEAN countries behind closed doors later on Thursday, with Southeast Asian leaders hoping to persuade their giant neighbor to take a less bellicose approach to overlapping claims in the South China Sea.

The Philippines and Vietnam have sought closer U.S. ties to counter what they see as China’s aggression in the region.

via China offers ASEAN friendship treaty as South China Sea tension bubbles | Reuters.

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09/11/2013

China’s Coming Terrorism Wave | China Power | The Diplomat

Prediction time: China will experience unprecedented terrorism over the next few years.

China

On October 27, a carload of Xinjiang residents made headlines by crashing into a Tiananmen Square crowd, killing two people while injuring 38. Then, on Wednesday, a series of explosions rocked the provincial Communist Party headquarters in Shanxi province, killing one person while injuring 8.

This recent uptick in political violence is not an anomaly for China, but a harbinger of terrorist violence to come.

Several long-term trends put China at risk.

China’s footprint on the world stage is growing while the United States is retrenching internationally. The recent travel schedules of Xi Jinping and Barack Obama are telling. At a time when Barack was cancelling trips to attend the APEC Summit in Indonesia, the East Asia Summit in Brunei, and his planned visits to the Philippines and Malaysia, Xi was wrapping up tours of Indonesia, Malaysia, Russia, Tanzania, South Africa, the Congo, Mexico, Costa Rica, Trinidad and Tobago, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kurdistan, and Turkmenistan. Look for Xi and he’s probably overseas. Look for Obama and he’s probably at home, wrangling with Congress.

Historically, Americans have been the preferred target of international terrorism, while China has been virtually spared. Americans have been the most popular target because of their country’s hegemonic position around the globe, which inevitably breeds mistrust, resentment, and ultimately counterbalancing. Professor Robert Pape at the University of Chicago has found that foreign meddling is highly correlated with incurring suicide terrorist campaigns. With its comparatively insular foreign policy, China has understandably elicited less passion and violence among foreign terrorists.

But the trajectories of the U.S. and China are now inverting. Reeling from its botched counterinsurgency campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan, the United States is engulfed in an unmistakable wave of isolationism. Meanwhile, China is rapidly converting its rising economic power into ever greater international leverage. This newfound orientation makes sense geopolitically, but will not come without costs.

Moving forward, China will contend with not only international terrorism, but also the domestic variety. This is because China is likely to follow (albeit belatedly) the post-Cold War Zeitgeist towards democratization. China will neither become a Jeffersonian democracy nor continue to disenfranchise political dissidents. Instead, it will inch closer to a “mixed” regime, a weak democratic state. This regime type is precisely the kind that sparks domestic political unrest. Such governments are too undemocratic to satisfy citizens, but too democratic to snuff them out.

Add to this brew globalization and the government’s critics at home and abroad will be better informed about both Chinese policy and how to mobilize against it, including violently.

via China’s Coming Terrorism Wave | China Power | The Diplomat.

19/08/2013

El Indio: Seeking Symmetry

Jakarta Globe: ” The eminent academician Dr. Anis H. Bajrektarevic says that “there [can be] no Asian century, without the Pan-Asian multilateral setting.” The Americas, he says, have the Organization of American States (OAS), Africa has the African Union, and Europe has the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). There is no counterpart in the sprawling continent of Asia.

China

We do have multilateral settings, like South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) and Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean), but these are in spots of a huge continent. Wide forums like Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) have no security mandate. I add: the Bali Principles of the East Asia Summit aren’t legally binding. To Bajrektarevic, the robust structures in Asia are bilateral and asymmetric: US-Japan, US-Singapore, Russia-India, Australia-Timor-Leste, etc.

Hence, the situation in Asia today, he says, is akin to that of Europe before World War II. Neither balanced nor symmetrical, it’s unstable.

That’s one more compelling reason why regional nations should support the proposal of Indonesian Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa for an Indo-Pacific regional treaty of friendship and cooperation. The envisioned treaty would be something like the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation (TAC) in Southeast Asia, but this time covering the larger Indo-Pacific region.

Thus, the larger region would replicate the experience of Asean countries. Assured that the guns would remain silent, they could focus on building confidence and common security, and the pursuit of economic and sociocultural synergy.

The initial negotiating venue, says Marty, will be the East Asia Summit, which groups Asean with China, South Korea and Japan as well as the United States, Russia, India, Australia and New Zealand. Since the non-Asean participants have all acceded to the TAC, they should have no problem committing themselves to old commitments.

So far, only the United States has committed itself in principle to supporting the proposal. All other foreign ministers concerned have taken official note of it. No one has voiced objection. Several Asean diplomats have expressed personal opinions favorable to the idea, taking care to belabor their views are not official.

Two Asean members that should be early supporters of the proposal are Vietnam and the Philippines. They’re on the frontline of the dispute over China’s voracious claim to the South China Sea. Late last week the foreign minister of Vietnam made an official visit to the Philippines. He and his Filipino counterpart talked about working with Asean for an early start of negotiations toward a Code of Conduct in the South China Sea.

Comments are mostly in favor, some affirming the need for the projected treaty while expressing fear there’s too little trust among relevant nations for it to see the light of day. One Australian pundit cast doubt if a divided Asean has the muscle to push it. There are the usual knee-jerk predictions that China will shoot it down.

The dilemma is that while progress toward the proposed treaty must be incremental — it has to be painstakingly crafted and chewed over — the need for it is urgent. Any time, any day, violent conflict could erupt in the region for three reasons cited by Marty: the trust deficit within and among nations, the unresolved territorial disputes all over the region, and the profound geopolitical changes taking place within it.

There is also that lack of symmetry in the bilateral alliances involving the regional nations. This can only be remedied by a comprehensive and binding multilateral structure that would give the region greater stability.

That can only be an Indo-Pacific treaty of friendship and cooperation.”

via El Indio: Seeking Symmetry – The Jakarta Globe.

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