Indonesia keen to restore ASEAN reputation

Featured - July 19th, 2012
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Marty Natalegawa, the Indonesian Foreign Minister, is seeking greater cooperation on the South China Sea row amid failed talks on a Code of Conduct with China, the Asahi Shimbun reports.

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations were divided in negotiations on the proposed Code of Conduct in the South China Sea disputes, which added to the group’s frustrations over a headstrong China. Natalegawa wants to seek a common ground among the 10 members of the regional group that would ‘restore the credibility of the ASEAN’. He took off on a Southeast Asian tour to carry out mediator duties, starting with the Philippines, and expressed his hope of producing a statement of unity by the end of his trip.

He will conclude his tour in Phnom Penh, where the failed talks took place, and urge to “restore ASEAN cohesion and unity on the South China Sea.” Cambodia was accused of being bribed to stand in favor of China.

The ASEAN has been known for “harmony and polite debate”. However, tension escalated during the recent meeting in the Cambodian capital stalled progress. Indonesia is seen as neutral because it does not claim any territories in the disputed waters.