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ASEAN and China Bringing Peace and Development to Southeast Asia—Including the South China Sea

Aug. 6, 2017 (EIRNS)—On the 50th anniversary of the founding of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), the foreign ministers of the ten members of Asian and other countries in the Asia Pacific region are meeting starting today in the Philippines, this year’s chairman of ASEAN. The two primary issues at the formal sessions are North Korea and the South China Sea.

Most important was the agreement between ASEAN and China to adopt the draft framework for a Code of Conduct (COC) in the South China Sea. Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said that the situation in the South China Sea had "stabilized remarkably" in the past year, and that the passing of the framework today will be followed by consultations in August, and the launching of discussions on a final COC at the November ASEAN Summit of the heads of state and government, with the proviso: "if there is no major disruption from outside parties," a clear reference to earlier disruptions from the Obama administration. The role of the new government in the Philippines under President Rodrigo Duterte, who rejected Obama’s war-mongering and has joined China’s Silk Road process, has created general unity in ASEAN regarding China. Vietnam has called for a reference to China’s island building in the communiqué, but acceptable wording has apparently been agreed upon.

Carl Thayer of Australia, a leading expert on Southeast Asia on behalf of the British Empire, denounced the COC framework agreement because it is non-legally binding, saying

"A non-binding COC would be a disaster of the first order. China would keep pushing and ASEAN claimant states would be left with no option but to capitulate."

Of course, the nations of the regions are not capitulating, but joyfully joining the New Silk Road now that the Obama puppet-regime in Manila has been replaced by a nationalist.

On Korea, a draft statement by ASEAN condemning the North’s missile launches is being objected to by Cambodia, a close friend of China, since it does not include a call for ending western military provocations. This has delayed the expected release of an ASEAN communique today. It is now expected to be released on Monday with the statements by the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF, which addresses security issues) and the East Asia Forum (EAS), which both include all the Asia-Pacific nations—but only if they come to a consensus regarding the North Korea clause.