The 50th Summit of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) opens Monday, August 7, in Manila. On the menu: the North Korean nuclear program and the Chinese expansionism in the South China Sea. These two issues, which were at the very least thorny, were widely discussed during the bilateral discussions.
On Monday, August 7, in a telephone interview, the US and South Korean presidents agreed to exert maximum pressure on North Korea. On Saturday (August 5th), the United Nations had already unanimously voted a new round of sanctions, which could reduce North Korean exports by one-third, to punish Pyongyang after its two intercontinental missile tests last month.
These sanctions, as usual, do not seem to have impressed North Korea. On the contrary, it shows that Seoul is insincere in its proposal to improve relations between the north and the south of the peninsula, according to the head of the North Korean diplomacy. This is what he told his South Korean counterpart at a rare meeting on Sunday (August 6th) in Manila.
Beijing won in the South China Sea
As for China’s expansionism in the South China Sea, the United States, Australia, and Japan on Monday strongly condemned it and demanded that a possible code of conduct in the maritime areas The countries of Asean and China are competing for either legally binding.
But this request is absent from the communiqué of Sunday from the countries of Asean, which seem to go in the direction of Beijing.
Beijing has, for years, been accused of seeking to increase divisions within the regional organization by playing diplomacy of the checkbook or by intimidating certain countries to rally them to its cause.