Apply Bali Concord III in Facing SC Sea Situation: Marty Natalegawa

30 November, 2011 | Source: ANTARA News

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - Foreign Affairs Minister Marty Natalegawa said the Bali Concord III is expected to serve as a guide for East Asian countries in dealing with the dynamic situation in the South China Sea.

"We are aware of the dynamic situation in the South China Sea. However, we must remember that now we have the Bali Concord III that was signed by the heads of state/government during the East Asia Summit last November 19. It will be considered as the basic rules for the signatory countries in acting in the region, so the dynamic situation in the South China Sea is something that we already anticipated," said the minister.

Earlier, AFP reported that China had announced it would conduct "routine" naval exercises in the Pacific Ocean, in the week after a major diplomatic campaign by US President Barack Obama to assert the United States as a Pacific power.

The Chinese defence ministry said the exercises, to be held later this month, did not target any particular country, but the announcement comes against a background of growing tensions over maritime disputes in the Asia-Pacific region.

Obama, who has dubbed himself America`s first Pacific president, said last week the United States would deploy up to 2,500 marines to Australia and tighten air force cooperation, a move seen as a response to China`s growing regional might.

China`s freedom of navigation "shall not be subject to any form of hindrance", the Chinese defence ministry said in a brief statement late Wednesday announcing the naval exercises in the western Pacific.

"This is a routine drill arranged under an annual plan, does not target any particular country or target, and complies with relevant international laws and international practice," it added.

Obama flew home Saturday after a seven-day tour of Pacific nations during which he took in a trio of summits and announced greater military involvement in the region.

"Here is what this region must know. As we end today`s wars, I have directed my national security team to make our presence and missions in the Asia-Pacific a top priority," the US president announced during a visit to Australia.

Washington`s new diplomatic campaign to assert itself as a Pacific power has alarmed China, which sees initiatives like stationing marines in Australia as intruding into its sphere of influence.

China`s Premier Wen Jiabao has warned against interference by "external forces" in regional territorial disputes including in the South China Sea, a strategic and resource-rich area where several nations have overlapping claims.

China claims all of the maritime area, as does Taiwan, while four Southeast Asian countries declare ownership of parts of it, with Vietnam and the Philippines accusing Chinese forces of increasing aggression there.

The competing claims have led to periodic outbreaks of tension between China and its neighbours in recent years, including with the Philippines and Vietnam in recent months, and with Japan in late 2010.

Asia-Pacific leaders held talks on the disputed territories at a summit Saturday, in a major diplomatic coup for the United States, which had pushed for the topic to be raised, despite objections from Beijing.

 

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