ASEAN tensions flare in South China Sea territorial dispute
Monday, November 19, 2012 - 01:19
Nov. 19 - Rifts over the issue of the South China Sea emerge between ASEAN members and China at a summit meeting in Phnom Penh. Sarah Sheffer reports.
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ASEAN leaders meet for talks in Cambodia on Monday.
But rifts emerged as the leaders addressed the divisive South China Sea territorial dispute.
Disagreement over how to handle the issue derailed the bloc's annual meeting last July, forcing it to end without a joint statement for the first time in its 45-year history.
China has always maintained that issues should be dealt with bilaterally and not through regional groups like ASEAN.
But ASEAN had asked for this year's host and staunch Chinese ally, Cambodia, to tell Premier Wen Jiabao that the regional bloc wanted to begin talks on a binding Code of Conduct.
A Chinese government spokesman any such talks on a code of conduct in the region would take time .
(SOUNDBITE) (English) CHINESE FOREIGN MINISTRY SPOKESMAN, QIN GANG, SAYING
"It takes some time for you know for China and ASEAN to talk about, discuss COC and this is not a wasting of time because during the discussion we can build up and accumulate more consensus and mutual trust."
China's assertion of sovereignty over the stretch of water has set it directly against U.S. allies Vietnam and the Philippines, while Brunei, Taiwan and Malaysia also lay claim to parts of the South China Sea, making it Asia's biggest potential military trouble spot.
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