07 August 2017

News Story: Vietnam wants tough stand vs China, but Philippines reluctant

MANILA, Philippines - Vietnam is urging other Southeast Asian nations to take a stronger stand against Chinese expansionism in the South China Sea, as a tense regional security forum in Manila began yesterday with North Korea also under fire over its nuclear program.

Ahead of the launch of the annual gathering of foreign ministers from the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), Vietnam made a bold play against China with a draft of suggested changes to a planned joint communiqué.

It set the stage for what was expected to be a fiery few days of diplomacy in Manila, with the top diplomats from China, the US, Russia and North Korea set to join their ASEAN and other Asia-Pacific counterparts for security talks starting today.

The meetings would take place as the UN Security Council votes this weekend on a US-drafted resolution to toughen sanctions against North Korea to punish the isolated regime for its missile and nuclear tests.

The US said it would also seek to build united pressure on North Korea at the Manila event – known as the ASEAN Regional Forum – and Foreign Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano said Pyongyang would receive a strong message.

But on the South China Sea dispute – one of Asia’s other top powder keg issues – there was far less consensus, with Vietnam resisting efforts by the Philippines to placate Beijing, according to diplomats.

Read the full story at PhilStar