Amid South China Sea tensions, China hosts meeting with defense ministers from 10-nation ASEAN

Amid South China Sea tensionsBEIJING — China hosted Southeast Asian defense ministers Friday in a bid to burnish its reputation in a region wary of Beijing's territorial ambitions, while expectations grow that the U.S. might directly challenge Chinese claims in the South China Sea.

The meeting in Beijing marks the first time China has hosted such a gathering. Four of the countries from the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations taking part have claims to seas and islands in the South China Sea that clash with Beijing's own.

The meeting was expected to skirt such contentious issues as China seeks to leverage such forums to soften its image. Chinese Defense Minister Chang Wanquan did not directly mention the dispute in his opening remarks, pointing instead to the threats that terrorism, radicalism, natural disasters and major accidents pose to the region.


About The Project

Funded by the Open Society Foundation for South Africa (OSF-SA), the project focuses on the changing dynamics and implications of South- South cooperation, in the context of South Africa's avowed commitment to this cause in its international relations. The need to understand the complexities of South-South dynamics and their implications for foreign policy is particularly urgent for South Africa, which, while working to advance South-South multilateralism, must also contend with the corresponding need to remain true to other universal values underpinning its foreign policy as well as guarantee the specific interests of its immediate environment, that is, the African continent.

Key Themes

In recent times, South-South cooperation has received renewed attention, inspired mainly by the emergence of new southern clubs such as IBSA, BRICS and CELAC. This trend reflects a growing push by developing countries to respond to current global challenges in a coherent and concerted manner.


Aims and Objectives of The Project

The aim of the project is therefore to contribute, through critical research and dialogue, towards a nuanced understanding of contemporary South-South cooperation. In particular, it seeks to appreciate the basis on which countries in the South cooperate or compete with one another, and the implication of these dynamics for South Africa's policy.


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