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(Opinion) A US-ASEAN South China Sea Failure at Sunnylands?

2016-02-19 09:18:07       source:The Diplomat

By Prashanth Parameswaran


February 19, 2016


"Following the end of the historic U.S.-ASEAN summit at Sunnylands, a number of accounts have criticized Washington and Southeast Asian states for their weak stance on the South China Sea issue. In particular, much has been made of the fact that the U.S.-ASEAN joint statement issued after the summit did not contain a specific reference to China's assertiveness in the South China Sea.


This is hardly the first time an ASEAN-related meeting has been criticized for this, and it will not be the last. And to be sure, getting ASEAN to be more forward-leaning on the South China Sea is a frustrating process well-known to U.S. and Southeast Asian diplomats. But to those who have been following the summit's planning and execution closely, the suggestion that the United States and ASEAN have somehow failed on the South China Sea issue at Sunnylands is seriously misguided. It reflects an ignorance of how ASEAN and the United States deal with the South China Sea issue, what both sides expected going into Sunnylands, what was eventually achieved, and how the outcome fits in with other ongoing developments."


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