Asean continues to court China
The chairman’s statement from last week’s summit reflects further efforts to forge closer ties with Beijing, despite South China Sea disputes
The 30th Asean summit held in the Philippines last week ended on a high note for relations with Beijing, as the chairman’s statement left out mention of China’s activities in the South China Sea.
The final draft of the statement drew headlines for removing reference to legal and diplomatic processes, interpreted by China to refer to an international tribunal ruling regarding Chinese military activity in the region, at Beijing’s behest.
The statement briefly addressed South China Sea tensions, saying “we took note of the serious concerns expressed by some Leaders over recent developments and escalation of activities in the area.”
In response, Chinese publication Global Times commented that one might read between the lines of the statement to conclude that the leaders “took note that some Asean countries have upgraded their bilateral relations with China.”