China morning round-up: Asean and South China Sea

Asean country leaders pose for a photograph during the opening ceremony of the 20th Asean summit at the Peace Palace in Phnom Penh, 3 April 2012
Image caption The Asean leaders did not reach agreements on the South China Sea code of conduct

Thursday's newspapers focus on theAsean summit, which concluded in Phnom Penh on Wednesday after discussion of topics including territorial disputes in the South China Sea.

China, Taiwan, Vietnam, Brunei, Malaysia and the Philippines have overlapping claims in the area.

China Dailysays leaders attending the summit emphasised the need to "intensify efforts" to implement the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea.

The proposed code is meant to regulate how countries should behave in settling territorial claims in the South China Sea, in order to avoid any stand-offs and clashes.

The Global Times' English editionsays, however, that the code "split" the South East Asian countries, as a call by the Philippines for the bloc to forge a common position on it received "little response".

Its Chinese editionsingles the Philippines out on the issue, saying that while Manila is weak in military power it has become the loudest voice over its claim.

An editorialsays Asean is likely to split if Vietnam and the Philippines push the group to challenge China on the issue.

A commentary in People's Dailyalso accuses "Western media and individual countries" of "deliberately exaggerating the South China Sea issue in order to create a stand-off between Asean and China".

Beijing Newsreports that China's National Tourism Administration will soon launch sightseeing tours to the disputed Paracel Islands (also claimed by Taiwan and Vietnam) in order to "demonstrate [Chinese] sovereignty".

Also on Thursday,People's Daily Overseas Editionreports on its front page that China's economic slow-down is still under control, whilea front page commentaryin the domestic edition appeals for people's confidence ahead of the upcoming party conference.

Beijing Timesand others report on an appeal to erect a monument to the Chinese Expeditionary Force. China's ambassador to Burma made the call during the Tomb-sweeping Festival holiday.

The Chinese Expeditionary Force was sent to Burma by the Chinese Kuomintang (KMT) government - now Taiwan's ruling party - to support British efforts to oust Japanese occupiers during World War II.

Hong Kong's Ming Pao Daily Newssays the eastern city of Nanjing is to hold a high-profile ceremony on Thursday commemorating nine KMT government diplomats who died during the war for their efforts to defend the nation.

A historian told the newspaper that Beijing's move to stop ignoring the KMT's role in defeating the Japanese shows the country's growing confidence as a power. It is also beneficial for the normalisation of relations between Beijing and Taipei, it said.

China DailyandShanghai Dailyreport on an incident in the Pacific republic of Palau where a Chinese fisherman was shot dead and a plane carrying Palau policemen went missing.

The Global Timespoints out that the island nation established diplomatic relations with Taipei in 1999. It also claims that no Chinese fishing boats have been operating in Palau waters since 2006.

Another report on Ming Pao- citingBBC Chinese- says that 12 Nobel laureates have written to China's President Hu Jintao urging him to open talks with the Dalai Lama after a series of self-immolations by Tibetans.

An editorialin the Global Times' English edition lashes out at the letter, saying that it "did not mention overseas political organisations that encouraged self-immolations".

"Ironically few of these 12 Nobel laureates have been to Tibet personally. They do not have enough understanding of Tibetan culture and the Tibet of today," says the editorial.

"Their intervention appears to complement Western opinion. It is doubtful whether they truly know what they talk about."

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