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China Reluctant to Talk South China Sea at ASEAN

The foreign ministers of the 10 Association of Southeast Asian Nations, or ASEAN, met with their counterparts from China as well as senior officials from Japan and South Korea in Phnom Penh today. One of the main objectives of the meeting is to work out the territorial dispute over the South China Sea. China, the Philippines, Vietnam, Brunei, and Malaysia as well as non-ASEAN member Taiwan all have competing claims over the area. The South China Sea is a vital shipping lane and is believed to have deposits of oil and gas.However, Chinese officials were not interested in discussing the issue during ASEAN meeting. [Liu Weimin, Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson]: "The South China Sea issue is not an issue between China and the ASEAN, it is an issue between China and certain ASEAN member countries." Ian Storey of the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies believes that Chinese officials want to avoid the issue altogether.[Senior Fellow Ian Storey, Institute of the Southeast Asian Studies in Singapore]: "China opposed discussion of the South China Sea issue (previously) and when it is raised, it is likely to react quite angrily as it has in the past. This tends to generate more heat than light on the subject, I think the best we can hope for at the ARF is that, under pressure from the other members, ASEAN and China will be forced to expedite their efforts to move forward and reduce tensions." The ARF is the ASEAN regional forum.The Philippines and other countries with claims in the South China Sea want to unite and persuade Chinese authorities to accept a Code of Conduct. ASEAN is made up of Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.For more news and videos visit ☛ Follow us on Twitter ☛ us on Facebook ☛

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