Friday, 16 November 2018 00:00

ASEAN Summit and Settlement of the South China Sea Conflict

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The 33rd ASEAN Summit has just been held in Singapore. In addition to the ASEAN Summit, several forums were also held in the ASEAN initiative: ASEAN Plus One, ASEAN Plus Three, East Asia Summit, ASEAN Regional Forum, and ASEAN Defense Ministers Meeting. Some important issues are the Rohingya problem, trade protectionism, the Indo Pacific and the South China Sea.

One of the issues discussed more deeply is the resolution of the South China Sea conflict. After a while the agreement has not been reached, finally the ASEAN countries in the 20th meeting with China agreed to start negotiations on the Code of Conduct, even though they have not yet decided when to start.

The response to the agreement sounds positive because the hopes to end the South China Sea conflict will turn to reality. At least, that is what emerged from the results of the ASEAN and China meetings. ASEAN is one of the world's regions with positive economic growth, while other regions are growing more slowly. If political and security issues disturb ASEAN, it will have a direct impact on economic growth in the region. However, ASEAN cannot stand alone. One of ASEAN's main partners is China. Interference in relations with China can hamper growth in ASEAN. Take for example; it’s the conflict with China related to the South China Sea.

One of the key points to ASEAN's success was made by an Indian academic, Amitav Acharya who said that there is no identity without an institution and no institution can last long without an identity. Thus, SEATO fails and ASEAN succeeds. ASEAN with the togetherness and solidity of its members tries to overcome the problem of the South China Sea to find the best solution. In fact, China has set about 3 years to be able to agree on the Code of Conduct in resolving the South China Sea conflict.

This agreement is a progress to solve the South China Sea problem. This also proves that ASEAN can solve the problem directly without outside intervention.

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