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ASEAN meetings continue in Jakarta

The annual ASEAN foreign ministers’ meetings in Jakarta end today.

Ministers focused on concerns over land reclamation and military buildup in the South China Sea, but did not explicitly call out Chinese actions in the region.

China’s top diplomat Wang Yi attended and held bilateral talks with both Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov and US secretary of state Antony Blinken.

The talks between the US and China were perhaps of biggest significance. While no huge gains were made, both parties reported dialogue was at least constructive, with both sides expressing their concerns and seemingly willing to continue such dialogue. However, many issues remain unresolved, with China unwilling to cooperate with the US issue of the drug fentanyl, which is illicitly produced from chemicals sourced from China.

Moving forward, we can expect US-China dialogue to continue, although with neither side willing to compromise too much on their interests, it is difficult to see how much progress can be made.

We can also expect the US to continue its attempts to deter Chinese dominance of the South China Sea, although this will no doubt hinder any progress between the two powers. However, it would likely bring ASEAN nations closer to the US, as despite China’s attempts to bring them under its sphere of influence, the ASEAN nations do not take kindly to China claiming their maritime territory for itself.

Source : Foreign Brief