ASEAN Summit

The 2015 ASEAN Summit meet was hosted by Malaysia on April 27-29, 2015. The 26th Summit focused on discussing internal ASEAN problems, such as the centralization of ASEAN. It was held in two sessions—plenary sessions in Kuala Lumpur and retreat sessions in Langkawi, Kedah.

The leaders had productive discussions under the theme ‘Our People, Our Community, Our Vision’ which reflected the overarching spirit of Malaysia’s Chairmanship, namely to create a truly people-oriented, people-centred ASEAN comprising all areas of political and security cooperation, economic growth and socio-cultural development.

The joint decleration re-affirmed the Bandar Seri Begawan Declaration and Nay Pyi Taw Declaration on the ASEAN Community’s Post-2015 Vision to create a people-oriented, people-centred and rules-based ASEAN, and the Bali Concord III and its Plan of Action (2013-2017), which contribute to efforts thereto.

Earlier, during the Foreign Ministers meeting, The Philippines had called on its Southeast Asian neighbours to unite in urging China to halt reclamation of land in the South China Sea, but the call failed to raise widespread support ahead of a regional summit.

China claims 90 per cent of the South China Sea, which is believed to be rich in oil and gas. Its claims overlap with those of Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Vietnam and Taiwan.

Recent satellite images suggest China has made rapid progress in filling in land in contested territory in the Spratly islands and in building an airstrip suitable for military use and that it may be planning another.

The territorial dispute is seen as one of Asia’s hot spots, posing risks that it could result in conflict as countries aggressively stake their claims. China has said the recent construction is meant to serve civilian purposes such as fishing and search and rescue.

Host Malaysia steered clear of criticizing China, it biggest trade partner.

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