ASEAN Worried by Latent South China Sea China-US ConfrontationPosted: February 22, 2017
Reuters says in its report “Exclusive: China finishing South China Sea buildings that could house missiles – U.S. officials” yesterday that two US officials told it that China is nearly finished building quite a few structures for housing long-range surface-to-air missiles. on its artificial islands in the South China Sea.
US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said something harsh about China’s island building in the South China Sea before his formal appointment, but according to Reuters’ report “Tillerson affirms importance of constructive U.S.-China ties” I have reblogged today, he now wants constructive ties with China and the statement of his department on his telephone conversation with China’s top diplomat Yang Jiechi simply does not mention the South China Sea.
Trump and Tillerson’s silence on China’s deployment of missiles and US navy’s patrol in the South China Sea make people guess what Trump’s real China policies are.
As a result, Reuters says in its another report “ASEAN unsettled by China weapon systems, tension in South China Sea” yesterday, Philippine Foreign Secretary Perfecto Yasay said after ASEAN foreign ministers’ meeting in the Philippines yesterday that Asian countries saw China’s installation of weapons in the South China Sea as “very unsettling” and have urged dialogue to stop an escalation of “recent developments.”
Obviously, ASEAN believes China’s deployment of missiles on those islands is to deal with US aircraft carriers battle group that has announced it will conduct freedom of navigation operations near the islands. In its report, Reuters quotes Yasay as saying that the 10-member Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) hoped China and the United States would ensure peace and stability.
According to Yasay, ASEAN were confident a framework for a code of maritime conduct could be agreed with Beijing by June. As a result, tension among various South China Sea claimants will be eased. However, tension will remain between China and the US there. That is why ASEAN hoped that China and the US would ease tension between them to ensure peace and stability.
Comment by Chan Kai Yee on Reuters’ reports, full text of which can respectively be viewed at http://www.reuters.com/article/us-china-usa-southchinasea-exclusive-idUSKBN161029 and http://www.reuters.com/article/us-asean-philippines-idUSKBN1600I3.