U.S. President Obama shared to the Young Southeast Asian Leaders that the ASEAN summit meeting will deal on global campaign against the Islamic State militancy and South China Sea.
After the meeting with Malaysian President Najib Razak, Obama told reporters that Malaysia can play a significant role in the U.S. – led coalition to counter ISIS and in dealing with the disputes over the South China Sea, islands and water.
Two summit meetings took place in Malaysia, the ASEAN summit followed by the East Asia Summit. Malaysia took extraordinary security preparations in hosting the meetings. Leaders from 18 countries, in addition to Obama, from China, Japan, Russia, India, South Korea, and Australia converged in the two meetings in Kuala Lumpur during the weekend of November 20.
The leader-attendees of the pair summit came in from the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in Manila. In the APEC meeting, although trade and economic issues were discussed but on the sidelines, China’s aggression in the South China Sea took center stage.
In support of Obama’s statement, the Malaysian government declared that the country is against ISIS, its ideology and its evil deeds on global terrorism. The Malaysian President clearly informed reporters that ISIS does not represent Islam, that the group are but perverts that malign the image of Islam and the believers.
President Najib Razak puts forward a challenge to Malaysians, majority of whom practiced the Islam religion to present to the pair summit the “authentic Islam”.
At the same time, the ASEAN and the East Asia summit has tackled the South China Sea dispute as a major topic. The South China Sea is a vital sea lane, which allows the flow of at least US$ 5 trillion worth of trade, if impeded will affect the region’s economic stability.
According to Obama, the U.S. although is so keen on the “need to apply the rule of law and international norms in resolving the sea dispute, but freedom of navigation and the free flow of commerce are critical groundwork that have facilitated the region’s growth”.
China, which is also attending the weekend summit is claiming almost all of the entire South China Sea. Its claims however, clash with ASEAN member countries the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia and Brunei and Taiwan.