Monday, October 8, 2012
Tensions aired at ASEAN maritime forum
Friday at an Association of Southeast Asian Nations forum, Japan asserted that the island sea clash that has been affecting Asian countries should be settled according to international law.
China offered $474 million for a "maritime cooperation fund" with ASEAN, the ten-nation association that has many members at odds with China over islands in the South China Sea. Although it is unclear what the money is for, it is possibly a peace offering to ease tense relations.
Senior government officials and private sector maritime experts from China, Japan, South Korea, the United States and other nations, met in Manila for the maritime forum.
In his keynote address, Japanese Deputy Foreign Minister Koji Tsuruoka said claimants in Asia's territorial disputes must reject the idea that "might is right."
"It is indispensable for any party concerned to resolve disputes over territories in a peaceful manner based on international law," said Tsuruoka. He stated countries should base their claims on rules provided by the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. He also asked that members respect the ASEAN as an arbiter of maritime order, a dig at China for that country's preference to have bilateral discussions on disputes in the South China Sea rather than dealing with ASEAN as a whole.
Japan's long-standing conflict with China over some small East China Sea islands got worse last month when Tokyo bought the islands from their private Japanese owners. Japan currently controls the islands, but Beijing claims that they belong to China and that the purchase is in violation of earlier agreements.
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