From Malaya Business Insight (Sep 29): Asean defense chiefs to issue unified stand on sea dispute
SOUTHEAST Asian defense chiefs are due to come up with a unified stance on the dragging South China Sea dispute during next month’s Association of Southeast Asian Defense Ministers Meeting, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana yesterday said.
Lorenzana said other issues are going to be discussed in the meeting to be held on October 23 and 24 at Clarkfield in Pampanga, including counter-terrorism, climate mitigation, and the drug problem.
“It will be a huge conference. We will be talking about common interests, number one of course is terrorism, number two is drugs, and of course - because we are in an area where we suffer a lot of calamities - disaster management,” said Lorenzana.
He said the South China Sea disputes have also been tabled for discussion.
Four Asean-member countries are involved in the dispute over the oil- and minerals-rich areas in the South China Sea, namely Philippines, Malaysia, Vietnam and Brunei. The two other claimants are China and Taiwan.
“Of course, we are going to have some statement also on the solution of some of the conflicts in the West Philippine Sea. Hopefully, we’ll have a unified statement on that with the Asean countries,” said Lorenzana.
“But we are also having dialogues with eight other nations, we call them the plus. There are eight of them: US, China, Russia, Japan, Korea, New Zealand, Australia (and India),” he said.