Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

ENCORE!

The Best of the 2018 Cannes Film Festival

Read more

ENCORE!

Cannes 2018: and the Palme d’or goes to....

Read more

ENCORE!

Cannes 2018: Lebanese film 'Capharnaum' wows critics

Read more

EYE ON AFRICA

Ebola outbreak in DR Congo: vaccinations to start on Sunday

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

The Royal wedding: Pomp & controversy

Read more

ENCORE!

Cannes 2018: John Travolta brings the mob to the red carpet

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

Summit or No Summit: North Korea angry over military drill

Read more

DOWN TO EARTH

Could thawing permafrost unleash long-gone deadly viruses?

Read more

FRANCE IN FOCUS

French and noble in 2018: What remains of France's aristocracy?

Read more

Asia-pacific

Diplomatic spat high on cards at opening of ASEAN summit

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2010-10-30

This year’s East Asia Summit has got off to a prickly start, after US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton – on special invitation – launched into the subject of maritime law regarding an ongoing diplomatic spat between China and Japan.

AFP - US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Saturday that maritime rows should be settled by international law, remarks likely to rile China, which wants to handle them directly with its neighbours.  

Clinton waded into the dispute over South China Sea and East China Sea islands as she took part in the 16-nation East Asia Summit, which the United States is attending for the first time along with Russia.
  
"The United States has a national interest in the freedom of navigation and unimpeded lawful commerce," the chief US diplomat said in a speech to the EAS, repeating a US stand in the presence of China here in Vietnam's capital.
  
"And when disputes arise over maritime territory, we are committed to resolving them peacefully based on customary international law," Clinton said.
  
But she also sounded a softer note, saying "with regard to the South China Sea, we are encouraged by China’s recent steps to enter discussions with ASEAN about a more formal binding code of conduct."
  
The Philippines said China on Friday made such assurances in response to concerns from leaders of the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) who met with China's premier Wen Jiabao Friday.
  
ASEAN, which is part of EAS, hopes that a "declaration" on a mooted code of conduct could lead to a mechanism to govern actions in the disputed waterway -- a resource-rich region which is a vital conduit for trade in goods and energy.
  
Diplomatic sources say that a working group from ASEAN and China will meet in December to prepare the groundwork and establish technical details on how a code of conduct could be formulated.
  
The United States has said it is willing to help craft the legally binding mechanism to end a dispute that threatens regional stability.
  
However, diplomats say a major stumbling block to such a mechanism is Beijing's reluctance to deal with ASEAN collectively on the issue.
  
Beijing instead wants the matter discussed bilaterally with the group's members which have territorial claims -- a forum where it has more clout -- while ASEAN wants to speak as a group.
  
China has warned the United States against making the South China Sea dispute an international issue and rejected any form of interference from Washington.
  
To the north, a dispute still simmers between China and Japan after Tokyo on September 8 arrested a Chinese trawler captain near Japanese-administered islands, known as Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China.
  
China was angered after Clinton, during talks in Hawaii on Wednesday with Japanese Foreign Minister Seiji Maehara, said the islands fall under chapter five of the 1960 US-Japan Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security.
  
Under the treaty, the United States is obliged to defend Japan against any attack on a territory under Tokyo's administration.

 

Date created : 2010-10-30

  • DIPLOMACY

    Japan releases Chinese fishing vessel crew but holds captain

    Read more

COMMENT(S)