ASEAN Summit in Vientiane Covers Maritime Disputes
At this year’s ASEAN Summit (September 6th-8th), which was held in Vientiane, Laos, regional leaders sought to, among other things, resolve disputes concerning the South China Sea. Chinese Premier Li Keqiang was in attendance to share China’s official stance on this issue. According to a statement on ASEAN-China dialogue, both sides worked to establish a maritime code of conduct to which both parties can agree. However, some ASEAN members, particularly the Philippines and Japan, are still not completely assured about China’s intentions in the South China Sea. Moments before the meeting on the 6th, the Philippine defense ministry released photos of Chinese vessels allegedly carrying out construction/dredging activity on the disputed Scarborough Shoal near Manila, which the Chinese unequivocally denied.
G20 Summit Offers Little Concrete Plans
The G20 Summit in Hangzhou happened over the weekend (September 5th-6th). The resulting Communique offered many areas of consensus but limited concrete plans for action. Much attention was devoted to economic and trade development, especially in the context of trying to involve developing countries. Other areas such as environmentalism and counterterrorism were not featured as much. From China’s perspective, the fact that this was held in Hangzhou highlights the nation’s growing pedigree on the world stage. The Summit also served as an ideal platform to promote the global initiatives they are currently pursuing, namely “One Belt, One Road” and the Asian Infrastructure and Investment Bank (AIIB).