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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs         27  June 2011

US-China discuss sea conflict

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The United States on Saturday called for China to lower tensions in the South China Sea through dialogue as the Pacific powers held first-of-a-kind talks on friction in Southeast Asia.

In Beijing, China and Vietnam agreed to take measures to “safeguard peace and stability in the South China Sea,” and seek the speedy implementation of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the disputed waters.

Senior US official Kurt Campbell said that he assured China during the talks in Hawaii that the United States welcomed a strong role for Beijing, which has warned Washington against involvement in the intensifying disputes.

“We had a candid and clear discussion about these issues,” Campbell, the assistant secretary of state of East Asian and Pacific affairs, told reporters after the session in Honolulu.

“We want tensions to subside. We have a strong interest in the maintenance in peace and stability, and we are seeking a dialogue among all of the key players,” he added.

Incidents in recent weeks have heightened tension on the West Philippine Sea, a strategic and potentially oil-rich area where China has sometimes overlapping disputes with Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam.

Vietnam carried out live-fire drills and the Philippines ordered the deployment of its naval flagship after accusing China of aggressive actions.

While the US and China often talk, the session was the first to focus specifically on the Asia-Pacific region. The dialogue was set up during the top-level Strategic and Economic Dialogue in Washington, D.C. in May.

Campbell said that the US and China would hold another round of the dialogue in China at a time to be determined.

“We had a useful and productive exchange of views,” he said. “I thought the overall tone and content was constructive.”

The US and China conducted “open, frank and constructive discussions with the goal of obtaining a better understanding of each other’s intentions, policies and actions toward the Asia-Pacific region,” Campbell added.


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This year in Thailand-what next?

AseanAffairs   04 January 2011
By David Swartzentruber      

It is commonplace in journalism to write two types of articles at the transition point between the year that has passed and the New Year. As this writer qualifies as an “old hand” in observing Thailand with a track record dating back 14 years, it is time take a shot at what may unfold in Thailand in 2011.

The first issue that can’t be answered is the health of Thailand’s beloved King Bhumibol, who is now 83 years old. He is the world's longest reigning monarch, but elaborate birthday celebrations in December failed to mask concern over his health. More


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