South China Sea issue not topic for non-regional nations at ASEAN Summit: expert

By Shan Jie in Singapore Source:Global Times Published: 2018/11/12 21:13:39

ASEAN member states on Monday signed an ASEAN Agreement on E-Commerce during the 33rd ASEAN summit and related summits in Singapore. Photo: Shan Jie/GT

 Chinese experts warn that countries outside the region may try to stir up the South China Sea issue at this year's ASEAN Summit to balance China's influence.

The opening ceremony of the 33rd ASEAN Summit will kick off on Tuesday.

"The South China Sea situation has been stable, but since US Vice President Mike Pence is expected to attend the summit, the topic might be put forward," Li Kaisheng, a research fellow at the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times on Monday.

China and the ASEAN countries have come to a consensus on the South China Sea issue, which is to control hostilities over the divergence and adhere to the Code of Conduct in the South China Sea (COC), Li noted.

"Currently the issue is being influenced by outside factors, such as the US, which sees the South China Sea as a point to balance China's power."

Li forecasts that during the 21st ASEAN-China Summit on Wednesday, China and the US will show their stances on the South China Sea issue.

Li said that besides the South China Sea issue, ASEAN expanding cooperation with East Asian countries, maintaining multilateralism and free trade are also significant topics on the table.

In early August, China and the ASEAN agreed on a draft text of the Code of Conduct (COC) in the South China Sea during the China-ASEAN foreign ministers' meeting in Singapore.

Singapore's Lianhe Zaobao reported on Monday that the country's Police Coast Guard has increase patrols to ensure the security of the attending leaders and dignitaries. A total of 300 surveillance cameras have been installed to further enhance security along the coastal area. A total of 5,000 police officers have been dispatched to provide security for the summit.

Posted in: DIPLOMACY

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