Host Malaysia rejects Philippines’ call to voice out against China

The Philippines has expressed its position in 2015 ASEAN Summit regarding China’s aggressive behavior, however, host country Malaysia rejected Philippines’ plea. “Is it not time for ASEAN to say to our northern neighbor that what it is doing is wrong and that the massive reclamations must be immediately stopped?” Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario told his counterparts yesterday, April 26.

“On this most important issue, is it not time for ASEAN to finally stand up for what is right?” the Filipino top diplomat adds. “ASEAN should assert its leadership, centrality, and solidarity. ASEAN must show the world that it has the resolve to act in the common interest.”

However, his Malaysian counterpart speaks in contrary. “We must avoid any action that would be counter-productive and bring us further apart, either amongst ourselves, or with China,” Malaysian Foreign Minister Anifah Aman said as quoted by international media.

“I don’t think ASEAN would like to be given an ultimatum, and by the same token I don’t think China would like to be given an ultimatum,” the Malaysian top diplomat noted.

Malaysian Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak said in his welcome note, “while we continue our engagement and cooperative relationships with countries outside ASEAN, we need to peacefully manage differences closer to home, including overlapping maritime claims, without increasing tensions.”

The Malaysian PM added that “it is natural that almost any occurrence there will attract attention. ASEAN must address these developments in a proactive, but also in a positive and constructive way.”