ASEAN statement: A ‘tacit’ victory for Beijing? – China politics and current affairs news from May 1, 2017


A summary of today’s top news in Chinese politics and current affairs. Part of the daily SupChina news roundup "Where does Anbang get its bucks?"

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) issued a statement on April 29 that avoids challenging China on any of the multiple territorial conflicts that several of its 10 member countries have with their northern neighbor. The statement, issued at the conclusion of a summit of ASEAN members, was widely interpreted as a “tacit victory” for Beijing, Bloomberg says, as China has for years intensely lobbied the organization.

A key influence at this year’s summit was Rodrigo Duterte, president of the Philippines and current chairman of ASEAN, who reportedly made a “judgement call” to not mention the international arbitration case that ruled against China’s claims to islands near the Philippines last July. Reuters additionally noted that the term “land reclamation and militarization” was a point of contention in drafting the statement, as four member states reportedly pushed for it to be included, but the final draft omitted any such reference.

A Reuters analysis on May 1 lays out how the Trump administration’s newly accommodating posture toward China is influencing the calculus of ASEAN countries, who “are trying to gauge how far they can still rely on Washington as a shield against Chinese assertiveness.”