ForSouth China Sea dispute, ASEAN, before and even now, still failed to emphasizeany peaceful resolution concerning this issue. In 1992, ASEAN declaration whichcalled all concerned parties in Southeast Asia to promote balance of power. Oneof the Hereby declare has state that ” The parties concerned undertake toresolve their territorial and jurisdictional disputes by peaceful means,without resorting to the threat or use of force, through friendly consultationand negotiations by sovereignty states directly, in accordance with universallyrecognized principles of international law, including the 1982 UN Convention onthe Law of the Sea”.
(DECLARATION ON THE CONDUCT OF PARTIES IN THE SOUTH CHINA SEA, 2012). However, it was nouse in 1995 when China sent navy troops and captured 35 Philippines fishermen.To response back, Philippine also sent navy troop and captured Chinesestructures and fishing boats in the area. Moreover, for ASEAN, this conflict issuch a dilemma between further integration and preservation of nationalsovereignty.
Therefore, the difficult enduring problem lies on state levelwhich means that each member face the difficulty whether to value its ownnation interest or to delegate sovereignty to ASEAN’s decision makingmechanism. To be more specific, Cambodia economy is relied too much on China soCambodia chose to stay out of this dispute. Moreover, Lao is also anotherexample that its interdependence economic with China is translated intopolitical position concerning the South China Sea conflict.
For Singapore,China is its second largest import and export partner. Because of its economiccooperation, Singapore has been maintaining neutral role in this dispute. Inaddition, Vietnam, the major ASEAN claimant, has been the largest tradingpartner with China since 2004. Over 30 percent of Vietnam import came fromChina in 2014 which is reflected that despite the conflict with China, Vietnamcould not cooperate with US and Philippine to balance China. Furthermore, eventhough Philippine is the strongest opponent against China, this country underRodrigo Duterte chose to open to Chinese investment for expensiveinfrastructure project.
Through the interaction of Asia members with China, itis really affects to their reaction over South China Sea dispute which canprevent ASEAN to reach consensus. Basically, not only ASEAN members that postthe concern of unsolved South China Sea dispute but also organization itself.Within ASEAN, there is no leadership who can direct ASEAN member states totoward united position. Eventually, this international conflict still post hugeconcerned for ASEAN since it pushes all the clashes of interest of its members andalso directly show that ASEAN as regional intergovernmental organization isineffective to deal with conflict.