New Asean chief seeks talks
JAKARTA: The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) is seeking early talks with China to discuss a code of conduct to manage tensions over the disputed South China Sea, the bloc's new chief said Wednesday.
- Published: 9/01/2013 at 10:36 PM
- Newspaper section: topstories
China claims most of the sea, including a vital shipping lane and resource-rich areas. The Philippines, Malaysia, Vietnam and Brunei have overlapping claims in the area, as does Taiwan.
"Asean should speed up efforts towards an early start of negotiations with China with a view to achieving an early conclusion of a code of conduct on the South China Sea," Asean Secretary-General Le Luong Minh said.
Newly inaugurated Asean Secretary-General Le Luong Minh of Vietnam, left, shakes hands with outgoing former Surin Pitsuwan during the office handover ceremony. (Reuters photo)
The Vietnamese diplomat was speaking in Jakarta after officially assuming the post of Asean secretary, replacing Surin Pitsuwan of Thailand.
In 2011, Asean and China agreed on a non-binding set of guidelines to allow dialogue and cooperation during talks on the Indonesian resort island of Bali.
A binding code of conduct is aimed at reducing the chance of conflict among the claimants.
Mr Minh also vowed to push Asean to move ahead in launching the Asean Economic Community in 2015.
"Despite the many challenges, I fully believe that Asean will emerge triumphant.
"The Asean Secretariat will continue to play active roles in supporting and coordinating with member states to help facilitate and drive the establishment of the Asean Community," Mr Minh said.
"The next five years will be exciting and critical ones. We in the secretariat are prepared to work closely with Asean member states to ensure we are able to deliver our major commitments and objectives," he said.
About the author
- Writer: dpa and Bangkok Post