John Ciorciari was quoted in the Voice of America article, "ASEAN Meeting to Examine South China Sea Dispute."

July 12, 2011

John Ciorciari was quoted in a Voice of America article on the upcoming Association of Southeast Asian Nations meeting on the issue of Chinese territorial claims in the South China Sea.

China's territorial expansion in the South China Sea is a point of contention for many Southeast Asian countries - Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei, and Taiwan all have territorial claims in the area. The expansion is especially troubling for Vietnam and the Philippines - after a Chinese ship cut an exploration cable from a Vietnamese survey vessel that was searching for oil in May, Vietnam began conducting live-fire exercises in the area, and protests have erupted in Vietnam and the Philippines over perceived Chinese aggression. Members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), as well as partner nations such as China, the United States, Japan, and South Korea, will meet in Indonesia, and the issue of the South China Sea is expected to arise.

ASEAN has already made strides in conflict-avoidance in the South China Sea, but previous resolutions have been non-binding. Analysts are pessimistic that a binding code of conduct will be reached at this meeting, especially given China's unilateralism in the area.

"China's strategy has been to prevent other claimants from encroaching on the disputed area and planting their flags, so to speak, and so that it can bide time when it expects in the future it'll have even greater capabilities and may be able to secure more concessions," Ciorciari told Voice of America about this unilateralism.