There was no consensus among Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) leaders to raise the issue of China’s reclamation and militarization in the South China Sea during the leader’s meeting, an official of Department of Foreign Affairs said (DFA) on Tuesday, May 2.
This was the reason why the issue was left out in the Chairman’s statement, Executive Director for ASEAN Affairs Zaldy Patron said at a Palace briefing.
President Rodrigo Duterte chairs this year’s ASEAN summit held in Manila.
“There was no one who has strongly pushed or mentioned anything about land reclamation and militarization,” Patron said.
The Chairman’s statement did not include the United Nation’s arbitral ruling in favor of the Philippines because no one dared raise the issue.
“There is no mention of arbitration because last year, even last year in Vientiane, there was no consensus to have it reflected in any of the Asean statements,” Patron said.
Laos hosted the ASEAN Summit in 2015.
The official denied reports that China exerted efforts to influence the outcome of the Chairman’s statement.
“Yeah. None that we know of, you know,” he said.
Aside from the Philippines, Vietnam, Brunei and MAlaysia are claimants to part of the South China Sea.