From InterAksyon (Nov 21): Philippines to host 3 other South China Sea claimants in discussion of dispute
After ASEAN failed to reach a consensus “not to internationalize” the South China Sea disputes, the Philippines will host a discussion on the issue among the four claimants that are also members of the regional bloc on December 12. At a press conference Wednesday, Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario said that the talks between Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Vietnam will be at the vice-ministerial level. Although the items on the agenda of the meeting have not yet been identified, he said: “A good scenario would be a multilateral discussion on the issues that confront the four claimants.” He said a list of limitations to the solutions on disputes involving each other would be “a good result” of those discussions. Asked if this meeting might displease China, which has requested that the territorial dispute not be internationalized, del Rosario said: “This would demonstrate that we can endeavor to discuss the issue and are willing to come out with constructive and practical ways in trying to settle the issue.” The proposal for a discussion among the ASEAN members that have varying claims to islands and other rock formations in the South China Sea was a Philippine recommendation to the ASEAN last year.