ASEAN Agrees to Disregard Hague Ruling in South Sea Code of ConductPosted: August 17, 2016
In its report titled “China, ASEAN aim to complete framework of South China Sea rules next year”, Reuters quotes Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Liu Zhenmin as saying after the third meeting between China and ASEAN on a binding code of conduct, “It shows that as the situation in the South China Sea is getting more and more complicated, especially with the interference of external forces, ASEAN countries and China have realised that we have to grasp the key to the South China Sea issue in our own hand.”
Reuters says after the quote, “China has blamed the United States and its allies in the region, such as Japan and Australia, for stoking tension in the South China Sea,” as if the external forces Liu referred to were but the US, and its allies Japan and Australia.
Certainly, the US and its allies have to be excluded, but China does not regard that as achievement as they have always been excluded in the negotiation between China and ASEAN on the code. What Liu meant is the exclusion of the external interference by the Permanent Court of Arbitration in the Hague, i.e. in the negotiation the ruling of the court will be disregarded.
Disregarding the ruling is China’s bottom line. Any mention of the ruling in the code is unacceptable to China. I wonder whether the Philippines will accept such disregarding.
Comment by Chan Kai Yee on Reuters report, full text of which can be viewed at http://www.reuters.com/article/us-southchinasea-china-idUSKCN10S0DQ.