Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi had delivered a speech in Vietnam on Saturday regarding long contested dispute on the South China Sea. This time, China says it has reached a four-point consensus with Brunei, Cambodia and Laos regarding the issue. The problem, however, is that two of these countries have no related interests or claims at stake.
During a press conference on Saturday, Wang Yi stressed that the ongoing territorial dispute concerning some islands and shoals along the South China Sea should not affect the relations between China and the Association of Southeast Nations (ASEAN). Moreover, the participating nations during the meeting also agreed that sovereign nations should also have the right to solve disputes in their own ways while respecting international law.
According to Chinese agency CRI, the countries have also agreed to oppose any attempt that would unilaterally impose an agenda on other countries. The four countries additionally agreed that negotiations regarding territorial disputes must also be resolved under the Article 4 of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC).
Following this, former ASEAN Secretary-General Ong Keng Yong is surprised by recent events, according to a report from Channel News Asia. “So, for this kind of announcement that two of the non-ASEAN claimant states have said certain things about ASEAN’s position, I think it’s very surprising,” he explained.
He also said that it had been agreed upon previously that disputes will be negotiated on bilaterally. Moreover, the former ASEAN secretary general says that perhaps Laos only made a statement on behalf of the group recently as Laos is the chairman this year.
Meanwhile, E&P reports that China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC Ltd.) had just started production at the Panyu 11-5 oil field located in the Pearl River Mouth Basin of the South China Sea. One well is said to be on production, which currently delivering 3,270 barrels of crude oil per day. This oil field is expected to reach its ODP designed peak production of approximately 3,900 barrels of crude oil per day within the year.
Aside from this, Today also reports that China has also been working on military build up and maritime expansion operations along both East and South China Seas. For Japan, the recent development on China’s side is a cause for much worry. Beijing has long said that Tokyo has no business interfering in the current territorial dispute in the South China Sea, which sees $5 trillion in trade goods each year.
Despite its concern for recent Chinese aggressive actions, Japan Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida says, “Through candid dialogue with the Chinese side, I hope to get the gears moving to establish a Japan-China relationship that is appropriate for the new era … I hope the Chinese side will cooperate in a positive manner.”