Asean summit focus on maritime security, trade amid South China Sea tensions

Asean summit focus on maritime security, trade amid South China Sea tensions
Asean summit focus on maritime security, trade amid South China Sea tensions

Hello and welcome to the details of Asean summit focus on maritime security, trade amid South China Sea tensions and now with the details

Nevin Al Sukari - Sana'a - This handout photo taken and released on March 5, 2024 by the Asean-Australia Special Summit 2024 shows Australia's Prime Minister Anthony Albanese addressing the reception for the Asean-Australia Special Summit 2024 in Melbourne. — AFP pic

MELBOURNE, March 6 — Australia’s Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said today that maritime security, trade and clean energy will shape the country’s future with the Asean bloc as Beijing looks to increase its presence in the contested South China Sea.

Australia is hosting the Asean summit in Melbourne, which marks the 50th anniversary of its ties to Asean even as differences remained across the 10-member bloc on China’s plans to extend diplomatic and military presence in the region.

“Australia commits to working with you to make sure the principles of sovereignty, territorial integrity, equality, and independence are upheld,” Albanese said in his speech at the three-day summit which will conclude later today.

“To ensure our region is secure, resilient, open, inclusive, and prosperous,” he said.

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Albanese said both Australia and the Association of Southeast Asian Countries (Asean) must work together to turn their natural connection into a more practical cooperation on marine sustainability and security.

The comments come as the Philippines yesterday summoned China’s deputy chief of mission in Manila to protest at what it called “aggressive actions” by Chinese naval forces against a resupply mission for Filipino troops stationed on a South China Sea shoal.

Beijing claims almost the entire South China Sea, a conduit for more than US$3 trillion worth of ship-borne commerce each year, and is a major source of tension with the Philippines.

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Both countries have been locked in a territorial dispute despite a 2016 ruling by the Permanent Court of Arbitration which found that China’s claims had no legal basis. Beijing rejects that ruling.

Malaysian Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, during a press conference with Albanese on Monday, said there was a growing “China-phobia” in the West. In an interview published yesterday in the Sydney Morning Herald newspaper, Anwar claimed the risk of conflict in the South China Sea had been exaggerated.

The summit is expected to release a joint declaration later today that would outline Asean’s position on the Israel-Gaza war and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, media reported. — Reuters

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