China-ASEAN Relations Essay

2119 Words 9 Pages
Despite its traditional mistrust of security regimes, China became one of the founding members of the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) in 1994 – the first region-wide multilateral discussion of peace and security issues in Asia-Pacific. Besides, Beijing established military links with Thailand, the Philippines, Indonesia, Singapore, Myanmar, Cambodia, and Malaysia. This extends not only to military aid and loans, bilateral talks on military issues, and signing of defense memoranda of understanding, but also includes joint production of military equipment and joint training exercises. During the 12th Foreign Ministers’ Meeting of the ARF in 2005, Chinese Ambassador Liu Yongxing stated that deepening mutual trust, respecting diversity, handling …show more content…
China is the only nation in the region that claims all the disputed islands in the sea; Vietnam also claims the Paracel (Xisha) island groups, while Taiwan, Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Philippines are fighting over the Spratlys (Nansha). The significant number of claimants is due to the fact that critical economic, strategic, and domestic interests are involved. First of all, the area is rich in fishery resources and expected to hold substantial oil and gas reserves. Second, the free navigation and commercial vessels in South China Sea are essential for regional and international trade as well as for military purpose. Roughly three-quarters of China’s energy imports go across the South China Sea while the U.S. Seventh Fleet requires free, flexible and undetected passage in the area for its nuclear submarines. Besides, if it were to succeed in realizing its territorial claims, China would “be able to extend its jurisdiction some one thousand nautical miles from its mainland so as to command the virtual Mediterranean or maritime heart of Southeast Asia with far-reaching consequences for the strategic environment.” A Chinese naval presence at the heart of the sub-region would not only be threatening for its neighbors like Vietnam and the Philippines, but also for Malaysia, Brunei, and Indonesia. Finally, the territorial claims have assumed a nationalistic importance in the states concerned, above all in China.

Related Documents