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Jakarta Post

Vietnam to champion ‘cohesive’ ASEAN despite testy ties with China

Vietnam to champion ‘cohesive’ ASEAN despite testy ties with China In this Friday, July 8, 2016 photo released by Xinhua News Agency, Chinese navy sailors search for targets onboard the missile destroyer Hefei during a military exercise in the waters near south China's Hainan Island and Paracel Islands. They are controlled by Beijing but also claimed by Vietnam and Taiwan. China's navy is holding a week of military drills around the disputed islands ahead of a ruling by an international tribunal in a case filed by the Philippines challenging China's claim to most of the South China Sea. China is boycotting the case before The Hague-based court and says it will not accept the verdict. (Xinhua via AP/Zha Chunming)
Apriza Pinandita
Jakarta   ●   Wed, December 4, 2019

Vietnam is likely to devote its full attention to ASEAN when it takes up the chairmanship of the bloc in 2020, in what international relations experts believe will be a challenging year for ASEAN unity in the face of global economic headwinds and a more assertive China.

Next in line to chair the 10-nation bloc, Hanoi was pushing for a more “cohesive and responsive” ASEAN next year, setting the tone for the contestation of a decades-long dispute in the South China Sea, international relations expert Aleksius Jemadu said on Tuesday.

The Pelita Harapan University scholar argued that a more cohesive ASEAN would serve as a platform for Vietnam to increase its bargaining power in negotiations for a final draft of the Code of Conduct (COC) in the South China Sea, which is currently being negotiated among ASEAN countries and China.

“Vietnam is c...

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