China's Vows To Reach
Image Credit: Wikicommons

China's Vows To Reach "Consensus" on South China Sea


During his trip to Southeast Asia this week, Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi vowed to work with ASEAN to reach consensus on a code of conduct for the South China Sea, according to reports by the Asia News Network. Yang visited Indonesia, which has been trying to rally ASEAN unity on the South China Sea, as well as Malaysia and Brunei, two of the nations that have claims to the South China Sea —but ones that have been far more reticent to cross China than Vietnam or the Philippines have been.

The Chinese media reported that Yang’s promise would cool tensions in the region, and would mollify Southeast Asian nations, and indeed Yang received some rhetorical support from leaders in Malaysia and Brunei. But since both of those nations have in the past been far more willing to bend to China’s demands, their stance shows little about whether the issue is really any closer to being resolved. The Philippines and Vietnam, which have hardly cooled down since the failed ASEAN foreign ministers’ meeting, even though ASEAN eventually produced a watered-down joint statement, are unlikely to see Yang’s visit as anything more than a weak make-nice try, or a Chinese effort to deepen splits within ASEAN over the Sea. And in Indonesia, the foreign ministry offered the usual bromides about Southeast Asia and China needing to work together closely to solve disputed areas in the Sea, but offered little substantive support for China’s positions. The Indonesian foreign ministry has made it a priority to maintain ASEAN unity on the Sea, partly through skillful Indonesian shuttle diplomacy; though Indonesia does not have direct claims on the Sea, given its ambitions of regional power, and its growing frustration with ASEAN, it has far less interest than Malaysia in simply accepting China’s demands.

Overall, then, Yang’s trip showed little new. Perhaps cooler heads are going to prevail, on both sides,  but there’s no evidence of that yet.

Joshua Kurlantzick is a fellow for Southeast Asia at the Council on Foreign Relations. He blogs at Asia Unbound, where this piece originally appeared. You can follow him on Twitter: @JoshKurlantzick


Olden Blackcreek
August 31, 2012 at 05:57

Regardless of your haughty ambivalence towards the west the fact remains that the vast technologies that the west employs  would be deployed in the event of any confrontation with the P.L.A and would seriously cause international loss of rising prestige and deeply embarrass China !
The damages to the  P.L.A would be to such an extent that the foolhardy bravado of the P.L.A shall finally with deftly maneuvered masterstrokes cause the complete destruction of any Chinese Carriers ,The Vaporization of the Snowy Owl Stealth Fighters and Drones and the P.L.A Airforce all due to incredibly superior military technologies and the advantage of combat veteran personnel !
The U.S.A no matter how hard your cult nationalist fervored thinking tries cannot ever prove your revolting insults that America is a Pariah and that talk Sir can stir any Patriots blood and bring it to a boil so do not speak to assured of Chinese dominance before the Eagle has had it,s chance to land and be grateful that there hopefully will be no conflict unless you wish to observe the Dragon being Slain and wiped from the pages of military history ,For a Bully can push only for so long before the Bully get,s a vicious beating !

August 21, 2012 at 13:16

what's so hard to believe about a Chinese being ashamed of being one? I know a lot of Chinese that's so ashamed of their origin because of what your Government is doing.
Stop being defensive and insinuate that someone is pretending to be Chinese and shout it out online.
Not all bloggers here are getting paid to spread propaganda to advance it's Government claims and justfy it's unreasonalbe actions!
People like John Chan is obviously part of them. I hope your not.

August 21, 2012 at 00:04

China is already dominating the SCS.

Kangmin Zheng
August 20, 2012 at 03:39

Mistyped.   It should read "not for Locusts"

Kangmin Zheng
August 20, 2012 at 03:38

Hong Kong should break out of CCP ruling.   Locusts stay in Mainland.  Hong Kong's resources are for Hong Kong people – not for Lucusts.

Tom Tran
August 19, 2012 at 22:58

John Chan: Negotiation is only possible if the context is ripe. It's not there – and no longer be there, as the Chinese plays a stupid move by claiming everything from the beginning and is trapped by a nationalistic card. You can tell – as a big country China cannot risk to back off from the 9-dot line. I call it miscalculation and foreign policy blunder. Underestimating the opposition from smaller and weaker countries and the US responses, China puts herself in a position where it has to win by all price. My best guess for the current situation is that all parties play a waiting game, commit to the status quo while reinforcing defenses and attack capability. I don't call this temporary fix a "solution" because it won't solve the dispute.

August 19, 2012 at 22:57

The reality is Vic that all this posturing from China drives the international community against it, you may think that the US is an imperialist and it allies lapdogs, the reality is that if China goes beyond its threatening retoric. (btw this retoric is simply a means to drive nationalistic sentiment as it struggles to hold onto its citizens) It will not just face these small nations like Cambodia, Phillipines, Vietnam, it will face further isolation and further anti-chinese sentiment across the globe. China lacks any real allies, it has a terrible soft power diplomacy. (you might disagree with the US vic but the reality is that the US holds the cards when it comes to international presences soft power, culture and the ability to crush any Chinese effort if it really came to this war you seem to want. This war will not just be China vs US it will be China vs the World. The reality is VIC although the Chinese makes up 1/5 of the worlds population, it has 3/5 of the world against it, and this is a friendly estimate, not to mention the silenced masses of its own citizens. The west and the rest only want Chinese money and investment and the Chinese need that business as much as we like the benefit of China being the global sweatshop. I do believe that China shoud have more responsibility in the area as it is the major power in Asia, but the only thing stopping China doing this is China. Maybe when it shows that it can handle its power like a responsible player, then I think that the world wont feel the need to contain China. Like many are saying here, we have no problem with Chinese people, I think the problem is that the CCP is stuck in the past, and having Mao as the nations posterboy only shows how deeply the CCP is embedded in its old ways. As for dominating the SCS I think that the reality of this is a long long way away and it will only meet more resistance as it tries to realise this futile goal.

August 19, 2012 at 12:36

China's (CCP) idea of consenus is that you agree to our demands.
No more, no less.

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