Subscribe free to our newsletters via your
. Earth Science News .

China and haze to dominate Asia security meeting
by Staff Writers
Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei (AFP) June 28, 2013

China's territorial disputes with its neighbours and choking smog in Southeast Asia are among the contentious issues set to dominate a major regional forum kicking off this weekend.

The annual diplomatic and security meetings hosted by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations will this year be held in Brunei against a backdrop of escalating tensions over increasingly assertive Chinese maritime territorial claims.

The foreign minister-level talks, which climax Tuesday with the ASEAN Regional Forum that includes China, the United States, Russia and other heavyweights, are further spiced by the Sino-US spat over fugitive intelligence leaker Edward Snowden.

Snowden's revelations of US government monitoring of phone and Internet traffic have drawn Chinese criticism, stoking mutual distrust already heightened by the Obama administration's strategic "pivot" to Asia.

The US has accused China of letting Snowden slip out of Hong Kong, an allegation Beijing disputes. Snowden is now at Moscow's airport and is said to be seeking asylum in Ecuador.

Russia has angered the United States by refusing to extradite Snowden and the Brunei event is an opportunity for US Secretary of State John Kerry to discuss the issue with his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov.

The meetings begin with a gathering of the 10-member ASEAN bloc on Sunday, expanding Monday to include China, Japan and South Korea, before an East Asia summit gathering 26 countries and the European Union.

Last year's meetings were marred by sharp disunity within ASEAN over how to confront Beijing's growing assertiveness in staking its claim to virtually all of the South China Sea.

ASEAN has sounded a more unified tone of late, and will press China in Brunei for "urgent" talks on a "code of conduct" meant to ease tensions, Indonesian Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa said.

"We need to stop this pattern of testing the will of each other. It is extremely dangerous and full of potential for a miscalculation," he told AFP.

Competing claims have for decades made the sea a potential flashpoint. Animosity has re-emerged in recent years with several confrontations involving China, mainly with Vietnam and the Philippines.

In a move likely to anger China, which insists the United States has no role to play in the South China Sea, Kerry is expected to raise the issue in Brunei.

"We would expect ministers at the ASEAN Regional Forum to discuss competing territorial claims to the South China Sea and to reinforce regional principles, including mutual respect, self restraint, and peaceful resolution of disputes in accordance with international law," a State Department spokesman told AFP.

"We encourage all parties to manage these disagreements peacefully and to make rapid meaningful progress on a code of conduct."

China has long resisted ASEAN efforts to create a legally binding code to govern conduct on the sea, and regional security expert Ian Storey said Beijing would continue to oppose anything weakening its claims.

"A code of conduct is going to take several years to negotiate. In the meantime, tensions will remain as they are now or probably go up," Storey, from the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies in Singapore, told AFP.

China and Japan also are at loggerheads over competing claims in the East China Sea, and that dispute could also be raised in Brunei.

Such gatherings are closely watched each year for bilateral meetings on the sidelines.

In addition to Lavrov, Kerry will meet with his Chinese counterpart, Wang Yi.

Seoul has said a meeting between the foreign ministers of South and North Korea could also be on the cards.

After a series of threats against Seoul and Washington that renewed concerns about its nuclear programme, North Korea has backed off, offering direct talks with the United States and sending two envoys to its ally Beijing recently.

Meanwhile, the talks will be held as Indonesia struggles to contain slash-and-burn farming in its giant rainforests that has in recent weeks sent toxic smoke across to smother Malaysia and Singapore.

Those two countries are under public pressure to push Indonesia at the Brunei gathering for more aggressive and systematic action to curb the land clearing.

"We need to put in place a permanent solution to prevent this problem from recurring annually," Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said this week after Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono apologised for the crisis to Singapore and Malaysia.


Related Links
Our Polluted World and Cleaning It Up

Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News

Malaysia pressures Indonesia over haze crisis
Jakarta (AFP) June 27, 2013
Malaysia on Thursday stepped up pressure on Indonesia to do more to stop outbreaks of smog after fires on Sumatra island sparked Southeast Asia's worst air pollution crisis for years. Palls of smoke from slash-and-burn agricultural fires pushed haze levels to record highs in Singapore last week, shrouding the city in smog, and badly affected parts of Malaysia. While smog is an annual occ ... read more

RESCUE Consortium Demonstrates Technologies for First Responders

India chopper crash kills 20 as flood rescue forges on

India rescue chopper crash death toll rises to 20

WIN-T Increment 1 Enables National Guard to Restore Vital Network Communications Following a Disaster

Major rethink needed if chemical industry is to meet greenhouse gas targets

U.S., Japan work to analyze disaster radiation levels

Laser guided codes advance single pixel terahertz imaging

New laser shows what substances are made of; could be new eyes for military

Clearing up confusion on future of Colorado River flows

Ethiopia insists on talks with Egypt to solve Nile row

Sea level along Maryland's shorelines could rise 2 feet by 2050

Migrating animals add new depth to how the ocean "breathes"

Is Arctic Permafrost the "Sleeping Giant" of Climate Change?

The rhythm of the Arctic summer

Global cooling as significant as global warming

Warm ocean drives most Antarctic ice shelf loss

How Size-related Food Labels Impact How Much We Eat

Airborne gut action primes wild chili pepper seeds

Comparing genomes of wild and domestic tomato

Dutch government introduces nitrogen-reduction bill for nature areas

India steps up grim search for bodies in flood zone

New Jersey may have been hit by a tsunami in mid-June

Calgary woman's drowning brings flood toll to four

Mexico storm upgraded to hurricane: forecasters

Nigerian troops deadly rampage in April incident: report

Mali coup leader says sorry: military source

New Sudan armed forces chief after rebel attacks

Uganda president's son denies plan to succeed father

Lessons at home and homework at school in US

Social network size predicts social cognitive skills in primates

Gulf lovers use smartphones to beat segregation

China to fund search for origins of early humans

The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2014 - Space Media Network. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement