SBY to discuss South China Sea, Syria with Chinese FM
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President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono is expected to raise issues related to the South China Sea and Syria when he meets with Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi at the State Palace on Friday, officials say.
Besides talking about enhancing the Indonesia-China strategic partnership, the two leaders would also talk about regional and global issues, Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa said on Thursday.
“When talking about regional, ASEAN issues, I think those will be on the table. Discussions within the ASEAN-China framework would likely involve issues related with the South China Sea,” Marty said.
Presidential foreign affairs spokesman Teuku Faizasyah said that, among the global issues Yudhoyono would discuss with Jiechi, were issues about the escalating civil war in Syria.
Besides Russia, China has reportedly utilized its power to back the Syrian regime of President Bashar al-Assad. Forces loyal to Assad have clashed with rebels in a civil war that has raged for months and resulted in the deaths of thousands of innocent civilians.
Two weeks ago, Russia and China vetoed for the third time a Western-backed UN Security Council resolution that threatened Syrian authorities with sanctions if they did not stop using heavy weapons against the uprising and withdraw troops from towns and cities.
The vetoes prompted Yudhoyono to hold a special press conference in which he slammed the effectiveness of the UN’s efforts in stopping the 16-month conflict in the Middle Eastern country.
“Those holding veto rights: the US, Russia, China, France, and the UK have yet to find a consensus. They were debating about who will lead [Syria] in the future, whether it is Assad or not. I am saying that it is very improper only to debate that issue while the situation continues to worsen,” the President said at the time.
On South China Sea, Marty said Indonesia would take decisive measures against China.
“This is for the sake of China’s national interest too. If this diplomatic framework is hampered [by the South China Sea issue], it would have a greater impact on the ASEAN-China relationship,” Marty said.
Several ASEAN states, namely Malaysia, Vietnam, the Philippines, and Brunei Darussalam have overlapping marine border claims in the South China Sea.
Debates on this issue prevented the 10 state members of the regional grouping from issuing a joint communique during the 2012 ASEAN Ministerial Meeting (AMM) in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, last month.
Marty, however, emerged as a volunteer troubleshooter with a 36-hour round of “shuttle diplomacy”, meeting his counterparts in the Philippines, Vietnam, Cambodia and Singapore, which resulted in the Six-Point Principles on the South China Sea.
Before meeting with Yudhoyono, Jiechi is slated to be welcomed by Marty at the foreign minister’s office in Central Jakarta.
Marty and his Chinese counterpart will also co-chair the second meeting of the Indonesia-China Intergovernmental Joint Committee on Bilateral Cooperation.
After returning the courtesy of Yudhoyono’s state to China in March, Jiechi is scheduled make state visits in Brunei Darussalam and Malaysia.