The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) summit opened on Monday in the Philippine capital Manila, and the leaders from the ten countries are expected to discuss various issues, including territorial disputes in the South China Sea.
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has been going around Southeast Asia since he took office in July 2016, and as the country hosts the first of two leaders’ summits of the ASEAN this year, it’s the other leaders’ turn to visit the Philippines.
While largely still developing, the Southeast Asian region has some of the fastest-growing economies, and is the sixth largest economy in the world. Despite this, the bloc continues to see integration as a shield against rising protectionism and other obstacles to economic development.
Southeast Asian countries have a myriad of concerns, both as individual nations and collectively as ASEAN, but one nagging issue has been the territorial disputes in the South China Sea. Now this year with the Philippines as chair, they’ve resolved to come up with a framework for a code of conduct in the South China Sea.