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ASEAN Struggles for Relevance in South China Sea Disputes

Mark J. Valencia Thursday, April 26, 2012

Although the tense standoff between Chinese and Philippine warships at Scarborough Shoal in the northern South China Sea has been walked back from the brink, it is a harbinger of more confrontations to come. Indeed, more such incidents are inevitable if China and the four Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) member states -- the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia and Brunei -- that also claim the sea's disputed islands and their adjacent waters and resources cannot agree on and implement a robust code of conduct to govern their activities there.

Unfortunately, the April 2012 ASEAN Summit in Phnom Penh came and went without agreement on such a code. Indeed, the summit ended not with a bang but with a whimper as far as the South China Sea disputes are concerned. ...

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