By Wang Qi,Sina English
The visit Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi paid to Indonesia is sending a message that China is willing to have Indonesia engage in an unofficial mediation in the South China Sea issue, said Associated Press last Friday when interpreting Yang’s latest three-nation Asia tour.
Yang is on a tour to Indonesia, Brunei and Malaysia from August 9 to August 13, which has drawn wide attention from both the region as well as the entire world due to the heightened tension in the South China Sea.
According to AP’s report, Indonesian Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa has been working on the long-stalled Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea.
After the ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting last month in which the ten ASEAN countries, for the first time, failed to issue a joint communique, Marty began his mediation diplomacy. He paid visits to the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia and Singapore within 36 hours, which ultimately lead to a joint communique that does not involve sensitive issues.
He warned last Wednesday on the 45th anniversary of the founding of ASEAN that if parties fail to reach consensus on the South China Sea issue, there would be risk of escalation of the tension.
“Regarding the South China Sea, we all need to be wiser now, in the sense that we should not conduct ‘megaphone diplomacy’ or make unilateral public statements,” Marty said.
“I hope in the months to come there will be fewer public statements that could have a detrimental effect,” he added.
But BBC Friday quoted experts as saying that China would not likely to shift its ground despite Indonesia’s mediation.
According to Indonesian newspaper Jakarta Post, however, China seems “willing to ease ASEAN rift on disputed sea.”
“To maintain regional peace and stability in the South China Sea is the shared responsibility of all the countries in the region. China is willing to work with Indonesia and other ASEAN countries to fully and effectively implement the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea,” said Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi after a meeting with his Indonesian counterpart Marty Natalegawa last Friday.
The Philippines’ Foreign Ministry echoed they welcomed China’s gesture.