ASEAN fails to reach common ground on China row
Southeast Asian nations have failed to issue a joint statement at the end of foreign ministerial meetings after diplomats clashed over whether to mention a touchy territorial dispute involving China.
The failure to come up with the statement was unprecedented in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations' 45-year history. It underscores deep divisions within the 10-member bloc on how to deal with conflicting territorial claims in the South China Sea that involve four of its members plus China and Taiwan.
ASEAN Secretary-General Surin Pitsuwan said Friday that the Philippines and Vietnam wanted the statement to include a reference to the recent standoff between China and the Philippines at a shoal in the South China Sea claimed by both countries.