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Trade and South China Sea likely issues on agenda at ASEAN Summit

southchinasea-free-blue-1

26 Apr Trade and South China Sea likely issues on agenda at ASEAN Summit

SIIA Director of Policy Programmes Chen Chen Lee was quoted by Channel NewsAsia’s Olivia Siong in a feature on this week’s ASEAN Summit in Manila. An excerpt from the article is below.

“We should still see the code of conduct as a useful mechanism for ASEAN to engage China on the South China Sea, because China’s tactic is to engage bilaterally,” said Ms Lee Chen Chen, director of policy programmes at the Singapore Institute of International Affairs.

“But ASEAN, in using the COC (code of conduct), will push for China to negotiate on the issues pertaining to the South China Sea with ASEAN as a regional bloc, and I think that puts ASEAN in a stronger negotiating position vis-a-vis China.”

While Singapore may be a non-claimant state, Ms Lee noted that it also has a stake.

“Singapore’s economy basically relies on freedom of navigation in the Straits of Malacca and the waters around Singapore, and we are definitely a strong advocate of the rule of law by international standards,” she said.

“So it is in Singapore’s every interest to push for and try to see that China is abiding by international law and rule of law.”

Full Article: Trade and South China Sea likely issues on agenda at ASEAN Summit: Experts [Channel NewsAsia, 25 Apr 2017]