US-ASEAN summit to focus on maritime security

Global Business

US-ASEAN summit to focus on maritime security

The first U.S. summit with ASEAN leaders is happening in California. The two-day gathering of the Association of Southeast Asian nations is being hosted by U.S. President Barack Obama.

The goals include promoting regional security and development. Participants also want to boost economic ties, and strengthen the largest trade pact in the world. Leaders will also address shared challenges, including the South China Sea disputes.

CCTV’s Jessica Stone reports from the U.S.- ASEAN Summit.

US-ASEAN summit to focus on maritime security

The first U.S. summit with ASEAN leaders is happening in California. The two-day gathering of the Association of Southeast Asian nations is being hosted by U.S. President Barack Obama.The goals include promoting regional security and development. Participants also want to boost economic ties, and strengthen the largest trade pact in the world. Leaders will also address shared challenges, including the South China Sea disputes.CCTV's Jessica Stone reports from the U.S.- ASEAN Summit.

About the South China Sea Dispute:
– Claimants: Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei, Philippines, China, Taiwan Region
– China has built at least three airstrips on reefs in recent years
– China wants to resolve claims bilaterally
– ASEAN has been unable to agree on common approach to freedom of ship travel through the sea
– U.S. will pump $156 million into military improvements for Indonesia, Philippines, Malaysia, Vietnam
– U.S. pledges to conduct “freedom of navigation” patrols close to contested islands/reefs

“China is resolutely committed to safeguarding the peace and stability of the South China Sea, and will continue to manage disagreements through dialogue.”
– Wang Yi, Chinese Foreign Minister

“If the South China Sea is restricted in terms of commercial or military movements, the first people to suffer are the Southeast Asian coastal states themselves.”
– Euan Graham, Lowy Institute

“The concern is very, very big because the South China Sea is a very…hotspot.”
Shohib Masykur; U.S.-Indonesia Society Fellow

It’s been two weeks since an American warship sailed near an island in the South China Sea, claimed by China. That incident earned condemnation from Beijing. Freedom of navigation in that region is a major discussion point for the southeast nations in the region at the U.S.- ASEAN Summit.

While China is not a party to this summit, much of the conversation still revolves around its role in the region, especially when it comes to the South China Sea.

Three years ago, President Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping met at this California resort aiming to improve relations. This year, Obama will use the venue to rally China’s South East Asian neighbors to counter its influence in the South China Sea.

It is a hot spot because China and its neighbors have competing territorial claims over these islands – which are still unresolved. Nevertheless, China has built at least three airstrips on reefs in two of the region’s island chains.

China wants those dialogues to happen bilaterally. But the four counter-claimants in ASEAN, a group of Southeast Asian nations, have pushed a collective approach to ensure ships can freely travel these waters. So far it has failed.

The White House wants ASEAN to support free navigation in the South China Sea, and it’s pumping more than $150 million into the region to help counter-claimants strengthen their naval military power.

Beijing has not inhibited any ship’s passage to date, but the stakes for the rest of the world are high. An estimated five trillion dollars in trade travels through these waters every year.

If the South China Sea is restricted in terms of commercial or military movements, the first people to suffer are SE Asian coastal states themselves.

The U.S. has pledged to send military aircraft and warships to the region, in what’s called a freedom of navigation exercise. The most recent, just two weeks ago, near an island claimed by China.

But Beijing sees the patrols as a clear violation of its sovereignty and asks countries outside the region to “stop meddling.”


Jia Xiudong on the first day of U.S.-ASEAN summit

Jia Xiudong spoke to CCTV about the first day of the U.S.-ASEAN Summit. Jia Xiudong is a senior fellow at the China Institute of International Studies.

Jia Xiudong on the first day of US-ASEAN summit

Jia Xiudong spoke to CCTV about the first day of the U.S.-ASEAN Summit. Jia Xiudong is a senior fellow at the China Institute of International Studies.