Kerry to urge ASEAN to find diplomatic ways to ease South China Sea tensions

Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen visiting the Taiwan warship she was to send to patrol the 200-mile exclusive econmic zone around Taiping Island.

Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen visiting the Taiwan warship she was to send to patrol the 200-mile exclusive econmic zone around Taiping Island. Photo from SCMP report

As Taiwan’s response to the Hague ruling that denies Taiping Island’ exclusive economic zone, Taiwan sends a warship to patrol the zone to prevent others from infringing Taiwan’s rights and interests to the zone.

China's H-6K bomber conducting combat patrols at Scarborough Shoal

China’s H-6K bomber conducting combat patrols at Scarborough Shoal. Chinese air force’s photo.

China’s response seems stronger than Taiwan. It began to conduct regular combat patrol of the South China Sea with fully armed fighter jets, strategic bombers, reconnaissance warplanes and aerial tankers.

To ease the tension caused by US instigated arbitration ruling, US has sent national security adviser Susan Rice to visit China and Secretary of State John Kerry to attend ASEAN meeting.

The following is the full text of Reuters’ report on Kerry’s activities in Southeast China:

Kerry to urge ASEAN to find diplomatic ways to ease South China Sea tensions

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry will urge Southeast Asian nations in meetings in Laos next week to explore diplomatic ways to ease tensions with China over the South China Sea following an international court ruling denying China’s claims.

Kerry travels to Laos’ capital Vientiane on Monday for meetings of foreign ministers from the 10-member Association of South East Asia Nations where tensions between China and several ASEAN members, in particular the Philippines and Vietnam, over the South China Sea is expected to dominate talks.

“The Secretary will reinforce our hope that … the parties will now turn to constructively engaging in a effort to find diplomatic ways to peacefully interact in the South China Sea,” a senior U.S. official told reporters ahead of the trip.

The annual ASEAN gathering will be the first since the July 12 ruling by the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague in a claim brought by the Philippines that China has no historic title over the waters of the South China Sea.

China has angrily rejected the verdict and pledged to pursue claims that conflict with those of several smaller neighbours. China has also blamed the United States for stirring up trouble in the South China Sea, a vital waterway through which more than $5 trillion of trade moves annually.

Citing international rules, the United States has conducted freedom-of-navigation patrols close to Chinese-held islands where China has been bolstering its military presence, which has exacerbated tensions.

The U.S. official said it was important that ASEAN members “speak out and represent what common ground they found on issues”, including the South China Sea, as they negotiate wording for a joint statement at the end of the meeting.

Laos has close political and economic ties with China

The official added: “I’d put a little more value on the conversation that happens among the ministers themselves than I do in the often lengthy and torturous prose that is pulled together by the staff afterwards.”

Kerry will also discuss economics and trade, efforts to combat climate change, counter-terrorism and North Korea during his meetings.

The ASEAN meeting is one of the few occasions where the U.S. secretary of state and senior North Korean officials are in the same room. The 27-nation ASEAN Regional Forum includes the United States, North Korea, Russia, Singapore, Pakistan, India, Vietnam, Australia, China, Sri Lanka and Thailand.

Asked whether Kerry plans to meet his North Korean counterpart on the sidelines of the meeting, the U.S. official said: “Other than the ordinary milling around and passing in the hall there are no plans for a meeting between the secretary and the North Korean foreign minister.”

North Korea has pressed ahead with its nuclear and missile development despite increasing international pressure. Earlier this month, Washington imposed sanctions against the country’s leader, Kim Jong Un, for human rights abuses, a move Pyongyang called a “declaration of war.”

“The North Korean foreign minister will again hear not only from the secretary of state but also from others in the room, that the world is not prepared to accept North Korea as a nuclear state,” the U.S. official said.

The international community was prepared to pursue talks with Pyongyang “but not if North Korea continues to threaten and wilfully flout its international obligations and its own commitments,” the official added.

(Reporting by Lesley Wroughton; Editing by Robert Birsel/Jeremy Gaunt)

Source: Reuters “Kerry to urge ASEAN to find diplomatic ways to ease South China Sea tensions”


10 Comments on “Kerry to urge ASEAN to find diplomatic ways to ease South China Sea tensions”

  1. Joseph says:

    So this is what the American meant when they said repeatedly to not underestimate American resolve. Talk and more talk. They are going to talk their enemy of boring diplomacy to submission. Is this ridiculous thing going to work? In ASEAN, we do not appreciate people who talk the empty talk. This will certainly be the new ‘international normalcy’ for the American. The ASEAN can surely take some getting used to American comes begging. Perhaps the next time American secretary of state come to a visit, his ASEAN counterparts would just ask him to wait outside their offices until they have convenient time. In Indonesia, we already have Australian cattle salesmen came knocking Indonesian vice president office, begging for cattle purchase. They wait and wait for days until the VP isaconvenient to see them, and granting them next quarter purchase quota as he sees fit. For the office staffs who got used to Caucasians to come barging and demanding, it was awkward at first to see Caucasians came rather polite and sat waiting. Then it become peculiarly amusing. Now they would say that it is a regular ritual, which some even got annoyed by their presence and said they’d like to throw them out. So it becomes that Japanese thing that compare guess to sashimi, on the first day it is fresh and good, on the second day it is OK and tolerable, on the third day, it stinks and should be discarded. So keep annoying ASEAN, and John Kerry would overstay his welcome, till one day, he would stink like that third day sashimi, and ASEAN will certainly discard him along with his Western and Japanese buddies. After the 12 July ICJ ruling, the American has no more credibility left in the region, thus defying the American would have little or no consequences. Especially after the American sent their three frigates/cruisers just before the ruling, and nowhere to be seen after the ruling. The popular belief is that those cruisers turned tail and ran at the first sight of Chinese ship. So now even the American are scared the hell to the Chinese. We always wonder what happened to those ships. Engine problem? Budget problem? Or crew salary problem? Or even, Hongkong shore leave restriction problem?


  2. Fre Okin says:

    PCA have exposed her dishonest determination Taiping Island is a rock. This is so unbelievable nobody should believe the Nine Dash Line verdict either. China should highlight the ulterior motive of PCA to discredit her reputation and instead tell ASEAN members and others that PCA verdict should be completely thrown out, not worthy as a basis to blame China for all the tensions in the South China Sea. Below is evidence Taiping Island is indeed an Island, not a rock.

    “Again, where is the authority for PCA judges to decide if it is a Community or One person to justify island or rock determination? Is there any provision in UNCLOS it got to be a Community? Nope! As long as the island is human habitable with economic activities, you have no business insisting on the community criteria. Follow the letter of the law, not your own Extra demand on what the law says.

    Okinotori is a fraud obviously as Japan spend billions of Yen propping up the Atoll with concrete structures, Exactly the template China follow for Mischief Reef. The onus is for Japan to prove an unmolested Okinotori can sustain human life with economic activities. Obviously it can’t. From details below, one can see Okinotori Unmolested is just a few protusions above water, most likely even less than an acre, impossible to grow anything. See any coconut trees there pre Japanese construction spree?

    “The Okinotori “Islands” (沖ノ鳥島 Okinotori-shima?) are considered a Japanese uninhabited atoll with a total area of 8,482 m2 (2.096 acres). Its dry land area, however, is mostly made up by three concrete encasings; it furthermore has a 100 by 50 m (330 by 160 ft) platform in its lagoon housing a research station.”

    “Taiping Island, also known as Itu Aba Island and by various other names, is the largest of the naturally occurring[1] Spratly Islands in the South China Sea.[2][3][4][5] The island is elliptical in shape being 1.4 kilometres (0.87 mi) in length and 0.4 kilometres (0.25 mi) in width, with an area of 46 hectares (110 acres).”

    Look at the Humongous size of Taiping island vs Okinotori ‘island’. It is Laughable to compare them as the Japanese ‘island’ have Zero evidence of human habitation all on it’s own. So Taiping Island and Okinotori ‘island’ are Two Separate Animals you should not try to confuse the public. One, Taiping island with Clear Evidence of human habitation and the other is not. To sharpen the distinction further, look at the other much smaller islands occupied by the Vietnamese, remember in total they have over 2500 troops guarding their islands, Outposts that can sustain life all on their own.

    PCA judges as I said is biased against China. There is political motive in the verdict. Of course deny deny deny is always standard modus operandi so one can only infer based on their action. Taiwan, VN, PH are sacrificed to serve the bigger agenda of containing China, to prevent her from having more control of the South China Sea as I explained earlier.”


    “The whole blanket islands as rocks determination is Fraudulent, using the Biggest Island ie Taiping Island as a convenient Fall Guy.

    This fraud still cannot overcome my argument these islands can sustain life and have economic activities all on it’s own And I have simulated a One Acre min island size as a feasible baseline. You just ignore this possibility and you Penalize Clever People who can Improve on the basic island criteria And make the island much more vibrant. You add Nothing New to your argument, same old recycled rubbish Ignoring the Inherent Capability of Taiping Island to support life and economic activities All On It’s Own.

    The Big Picture is Nine Dash Line is The Real Target of PCA. Lies, calling Taiping and other islands as rocks is just to Cover Up PCA Real Intention to discredit China. A Dishonest Body have no business determining the fate of the Nine Dash Line. It’s That Simple.”


    • Steve says:

      Good article, but is the nine-dash line recognised by UN or any legal entity. Or is the nine-dash line based only on the law of discovery, occupation and history including UNCLOS itself recognised as international law of ownership.


      • Fre Okin says:

        The Nine Dash Line can only be solved Politically. Legally speaking nobody have solid indisputable evidence. Chinese evidence like terra nullis, even res nulliis are all gone since VN, PH occupy them. So China only have historical evidence to go by which PCA deliberately ignore. UNCLOS never categorically reject historical evidence and PCA cannot Overreach by making up verdict against historical title. PCA should have Dropped Nine Dash Line as outside it’s jurisdiction. ICJ should be the only legitimate body to decide Ownership of the islands and thus EEZ.

        Western media perpetuate Fraud, confering legitimacy to PCA which it don’t deserve.

        Quote: “Foreign ministers from the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) met for the first time since the U.N.-backed Permanent Court of Arbitration in the Hague handed an emphatic legal victory to the Philippines”

        Look how desperate Western media is. UN Backed PCA? Here is clearest example of a Fraud by biased Western media. PCA is nothing more than a tenant sharing the same building in The Hague with ICJ, The Real UN body. Western media try to defraud the public making it looks like they have UN legitmacy.

        Having Some UN countries backing PCA deliberations does not confer it legitimacy. Put a vote in the General Assembly and see how many actually back this Fake legal institution which is Bought, Funded by PH. PCA is Nothing More than ‘Expert Witness’ testifying on behalf of their Client PH, their Paymaster with US lurking Beneath The Surface.


  3. Simon says:

    The illegal tribunal did not expose Chinese weakness in their historical claim, rather it has exposed American impotent to confront China militarily. Despite its show of force when it comes to push and shove America picked up its football and ran. It also expose when it comes to down to common historical interest against foreign hostilities the people of China and Taiwan are one.