China cancels meeting with Vietnam after challenge on South China Sea
Hanoi’s insistence on ASEAN taking a stronger stance did not go unnoticed
At an ASEAN meeting where North Korea took center stage, the South China Sea dispute was still on everyone’s mind.
Of particular interest for China was the wording of a joint communique released by foreign ministers of ASEAN nations, which expressed concern over land reclamation on disputed islands. Bloomberg reports that China was especially upset with Vietnam, who they saw as pushing for the wording, citing people familiar with the situation.
In response, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi canceled a scheduled one-on-one meeting with the Vietnamese counterpart in Manila at the last minute.
Vietnam had reportedly halted oil drilling activities in disputed waters last month, later releasing a statement urging all parties to respect its petroleum rights in the South China Sea, amid speculation that China had threatened military action.