South China Sea: China Mum On Dispute At This Year’s ASEM

South China Sea: China Mum On Dispute At This Year’s ASEM
Photo Credit: Ndecam via Compfight cc

There is no mention of the South China Sea dispute in any discussion or agenda during this year’s Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) Summit in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. China has made it clear it will refuse to discuss it.


Twenty-three countries in total came together for this year’s summit. They included China, Japan, India, Indonesia, South Korea, Russia, Latvia, Czech Republic, Luxembourg, Russia, Cyprus, Switzerland Croatia, Bulgaria and the Netherlands. Overall, there were 11 heads of state, 13 foreign ministers, three special envoys and two heads of international organizations present for the two-day event marked with a number of bilateral meeting. Throughout these, nobody uttered a word with regards to South China Sea.

The Arbitration Court at The Hague recently handed down its ruling in the South China Sea dispute between China and the Philippines, and it had ruled in favor of the latter. The tribunal also said that China’s historical claims to the area has no merit, which may further invalidate claims when it comes to its similar disputes in the region with Vietnam, Malaysia and Indonesia.

In response to the ruling, the U.S. said that while it is not commenting directly on the dispute, it supports the rule of law. Ahead of the ASEM summit, a report from Reuters reveals China had said the South China Sea dispute cannot be discussed during the summit in Mongolia. Moreover, Chinese officials who participated in the meeting also refused to speak to reporters during the summit.

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Meanwhile, as part of the summit’s Ulaanbaatar Declaration, heads of state and government from ASEM partner countries have reportedly agreed to “ensure the continuity of initiatives” when it comes to areas of common interests. Among these include maritime safety and security.

At the same time, China’s Foreign Ministry refused to comment on the summit and its decision not to discuss the South China Sea during the meetings.

Also readSouth China Sea: US Chief Of Naval Operations To Visit China Following Ruling

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  • britbob

    The ICJ has already determined at an earlier tribunal that No delimitation between states with opposite or adjacent coasts may be affected unilaterally by one of those states. And , The delimitation of the exclusive economic zone between states with opposite or adjacent coasts shall be affected by agreement on the basis of international law… So the latest PCA judgment comes as no surprise.
    For that and some other interesting judgments on territorial seas and to gain an understanding as to how the world court deals with such disputes Google: ”Falklands – Territorial Waters Academia” Or use link:-