Hanoi faulted for hype on recla­ma­tion ASEAN joint com­mu­nique ‘gen­er­ally pos­i­tive’ about re­la­tions with Bei­jing

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - FRONT PAGE - By ZHANG YUNBI in Manila, Philip­pines zhangyunbi@chi­nadaily.com.cn

Sources tell China Daily that it was Viet­nam that pushed for in­sert­ing “con­cerns” over land recla­ma­tion into a com­mu­nique is­sued on Sun­day by all 10 South­east Asian coun­tries.

The sources, who are close to the mat­ter and re­quested not to be named, noted that Viet­nam is like a thief cry­ing “stop thief ” as it has been work­ing on land recla­ma­tion in the South China Sea in re­cent years and boost­ing its mil­i­tary de­ploy­ment there.

Aside from con­cerns by some ASEAN coun­tries about land recla­ma­tion, the com­mu­nique re­leased at the 50th an­nual For­eign Min­is­ters’ Meet­ing of the As­so­ci­a­tion of South­east Asian Na­tions is “gen­er­ally pos­i­tive about the co­op­er­a­tion be­tween China and ASEAN”, the sources said.

Speak­ing about the dis­cus- sions tak­ing place at the meet­ing, one of the sources said ASEAN coun­tries gave suf­fi­cient en­dorse­ment to the achieve­ments of Chi­naASEAN ties.

Re­gard­ing the South China Sea is­sue, the coun­tries also spoke pos­i­tively at the meet­ing of the joint ef­forts by China and ASEAN in the past year in sta­bi­liz­ing the South China Sea sit­u­a­tion, the source added.

The sec­ond source told China Daily that the con­tents in­volv­ing China within the meet­ing’s joint com­mu­nique are “mostly pos­i­tive”.

Ar­ti­cles 118 to 123 of the com­mu­nique give a suf­fi­cient ac­count of the devel­op­ment of China-ASEAN ties, the source added.

Ar­ti­cle 118 says: “We

ac­knowl­edged China’s grow­ing role in the re­gion and high­lighted that China’s eco­nomic growth con­tin­ues to ben­e­fit the re­gion. ... We looked for­ward to more high-level di­a­logues and ex­changes be­tween ASEAN and China.”

The part re­gard­ing the South China Sea takes a smaller por­tion in this year’s doc­u­ment than in those of past years, and its tone is gen­er­ally more pos­i­tive, the source said.

The source noted that there are dif­fer­ences within ASEAN about recla­ma­tion as the com­mu­nique men­tioned con­cerns ex­pressed by “some min­is­ters” on the land recla­ma­tion, and the doc­u­ment did not use the term “se­ri­ous con­cerns”.

“It was a stand-alone coun­try, not the en­tire ASEAN, that has con­cerns over this. The coun­try is Viet­nam,” the source said.

Since 2007, Viet­nam has ac­cel­er­ated its land recla­ma­tion on 21 il­le­gally oc­cu­pied is­lands and reefs, and has built mil­i­tary fa­cil­i­ties, in­clud­ing he­li­copter pads.

“Un­doubt­edly, what Viet­nam has done is the trick of a thief cry­ing ‘stop thief ’,” the source added.

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