The Foreign Ministers Retreat held in Myanmar and ended on Friday, Jan. 17, 2014 is the first in the consecutive ASEAN meetings under Myanmar’s ASEAN Chairmanship. This meeting was important because it discussed with the Asean-member nations, concern over China’s imposition of controversial fisheries law that requires all foreign vessels to seek the approval from Chinese authorities before being able to be allowed to fish or do survey activities in the disputed islands / seas.
China imposed the Air Defense Identification Zone over the East China Sea, but which was condemned by Phl and other neighboring countries, and the United States. In the recently concluded meeting, the ministers highlighted the importance of peace, prosperity and security in the region, urging all parties to resolve disputes through peaceful means, and according to all binding laws of the sea. The ministers are forging a united stand against China domination, which they will never accept.
Ph has rejected China’s offer to meet halfway on the Chinese Fisheries Law as it says it is one of the unilateral measures of Beijing so it can advance its position of undisputed sovereignty in all of the South China Sea. China should try again, but this time, it should do so with all sincerity towards the objective of true peace and security in the Asean, and not for its own territorial expansion.
J. Arthur Martinez, NCR