01 Aug

News and Analyses, A Foreign Perspective

China, ASEAN must cooperate on sea issue

(Global Times) August 01, 2016

Illustration: Liu Rui/GT

The 49th ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting was concluded Tuesday in Vientiane, Laos, the first such meeting since the result of the South China Sea arbitrationwas released earlier this month. The scene that happened in Phnom Penh four years ago did not reoccur this year.

When Cambodia hosted the meeting in 2012, foreign ministers unprecedentedly failed to produce a joint communiqué because Cambodia objected to the Philippines’ proposals to include the South China Sea disputes into the statement. They just issued a joint statement over the South China Sea issue a week later.

I was then reporting the 2012 Foreign Ministers’ Meeting. Cambodian Foreign Minister Hor Namhong revealed that Cambodia objected to the communiqué draft proposed by countries including the Philippines because it included the China-Philippines spat over Huangyan Island. Cambodia believed at the time that this is a bilateral dispute and should not involve the entirety of ASEAN.

The situation has changed from four years ago. As the Vientiane meeting was held right after the result of the South China Sea arbitration was released, whether the joint communiqué would mention the arbitration garnered much attention. It turns out that the document did not mention the arbitration due to Cambodia’s efforts.

This is a result of China’s diplomatic efforts as well as a compromise by ASEAN members to keep internal unity. The release of the communiqué should not be viewed as a concession made by claimants. In the future, they may work on bringing ASEAN as a whole to negotiate with China over the South China Sea issue.

Eight articles of the communiqué mentioned the South China Sea. This has been the most number in a communiqué since China and ASEAN issued the Declaration on Conduct of the Parties in the South China Sea in 2002. This highlights how much importance ASEAN attaches to the issue.

Since 2002, every joint communiqué released after the meeting of foreign ministers has mentioned the South China Sea issue. Only two articles referred to the issue in the one in 2009. In the 2010 meeting when then US secretary of state Hillary Clinton explicitly said that the South China Sea issue concerned US interests, the number of articles was four. In 2011, the number was five, and seven in 2015.

The increase shows that ASEAN has paid growing concerns over the South China Sea feud. Although the arbitration was not mentioned in this year’s communiqué, in every Foreign Ministers’ Meeting that follows, how to address the issue will be troublesome, unless some progress can be made to solve the issue………………..

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Leader of the Catholic church says all religions have a ‘small fundamentalist group’ and that faith was not the only cause of terrorism

Pope Francis speaks to journalists on board the flight from Kraków, Poland, to Rome, at the end of his 5-day trip to southern Poland, Sunday, July 31, 2016. Francis announced that the next World Youth Day will take place in Panama in 2019. (Filippo Monteforte/Pool Photo via AP)

Pope Francis speaks to journalists on board the flight from Kraków to Rome at the end of his trip to southern Poland. Photograph: Filippo Monteforte/AP

Pope Francis has said it was wrong to identify Islam with violence and that social injustice and idolatry of money were among the prime causes of terrorism.

“I think it is not right to identity Islam with violence,” he told reporters aboard the plane taking him back to Rome after a five-day trip to Poland. “This is not right and this is not true.”

The pope was responding to a question about the killing on 26 July of an 85-year-old Roman Catholic priest during a church service in western France. The attackers forced the priest to his knees and slit his throat. The killing was claimed by Islamic State.

“I think that in nearly all religions there is a always a small fundamentalist group,” he said, adding “We have them,” referring to Catholicism.

“I don’t like to talk about Islamic violence because every day when I look at the papers I see violence here in Italy – someone killing his girlfriend, someone killing his mother-in-law. These are baptised Catholics,” he said.

“If I speak of Islamic violence, I have to speak of Catholic violence. Not all Muslims are violent,” he said.

He said there were various causes of terrorism.

“I know it dangerous to say this but terrorism grows when there is no other option and when money is made a god and it, instead of the person, is put at the centre of the world economy,” he said…………..

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Greek police arrest 26 after protest against eviction of squatters and refugees from Greek Orthodox church property

Refugees and activists in Athens protest

Refugees and activists in Athens protest against the evictions in Thessaloniki. Photograph: Orestis Panagiotou/EPA

Greek police have arrested 26 protestors who burst into the Greek Orthodox Cathedral in the northern city of Thessaloniki on Sunday and interrupted mass.

The city’s archbishop, who was officiating at another church, said about 30 people had burst into the cathedral of St Gregory Palamas and, aside from interrupting mass, had “destroyed what they could”. He did not elaborate.

The cathedral is named after a 14th-century archbishop of Thessaloniki, who is revered in the Orthodox church.

Police said 19 men and seven women were arrested. Seventeen were Greek and the others were from Germany, England, Austria, Switzerland and Morocco.

They were protesting against a police operation in the city on Wednesday in which squatters and refugees were evicted from three illegally occupied buildings.

One of the buildings, formerly an orphanage, is the property of the Greek Orthodox church and is being demolished to build a hospice for the terminally ill, the archbishop said.

Police arrested 74 people during that operation, 64 of them foreigners. Thirty-three refugees were released.

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