Asean senior officials begin meeting ahead of 30th Leaders' Summit

Laura Christensen
April 28, 2017

"What could be the objective also of discussing it kung wala kang magawa [if you could do nothing about it]?" the President said.

China has been turning reefs and shoals in areas of the sea claimed by the Philippines and other nations into artificial islands, and installing military facilities there. China claims most of the energy-rich South China Sea through which about $5 trillion in ship-borne trade passes every year.

The Philippines is determined to agree a framework for a China ASEAN code of conduct on the South China Sea during its chairmanship, though there is some scepticism about why it has China's support now, 15 years after the idea of drafting a code was agreed.

China has also publicly chastised Singapore for a perceived alignment with the U.S. against its actions in the South China Sea, with the American Navy using the island-state as a launch point for patrols of the strategic Malacca Strait.

The arbitration tribunal also ruled that Beijing violated the rights of Filipinos by blocking them from fishing in a disputed shoal.

Duterte adopted a more pragmatic approach, remaining mostly silent on Philippine concerns while seeking billions of dollars worth of Chinese trade and aid.

Even as he has sparred with the United States, Duterte has worked to normalize the Philippines' relations with China, which had frayed under his predecessor.

South Korea's Yonhap News Agency reported Monday that South Korean naval ships will conduct training exercises with the U.S. Navy aircraft carrier the USS Carl Vinson, as tensions surrounding the Korean Peninsula continue to eclipse those in the South China Sea.

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While China has reportedly reclaimed more than 3,200 acres of land in the disputed waters, one expert said the code of conduct still serves a objective.

Albayalde said he coordinated with higher headquarters and the joint task force for the Asean summit and they assured him that portalets and drinking water would arrive before sundown on Wednesday.

The President will decide on when to assert the arbitral ruling.

Asean leaders are expected to discuss the progress of the Asean Vision 2025, and exchange views on pressing regional and worldwide issues.

"Arbitral, it's only between China and the Philippines".

"We are giving assurance to the public that the PNP is doing its best, we are putting our best foot forward".

"But the code of conduct in the sea, that's a different story. The security and the one in charge of safeguarding and ensuring the events under ASEAN hosting goes on well is composed of a lot of agencies", AFP spokesperson Brigadier General Restituto Padilla, Jr. said. The bloc will adopt a softer than usual tone about South China Sea disputes and exclude references to militarisation or island-building, according to a draft of the chairman's statement.

"So it is in Singapore's every interest to push for and try to see that China is abiding by worldwide law and rule of law".

Other reports by My Hot News

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