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FACT CHECK: China can’t host next ASEAN Summit


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FACT CHECK: China can’t host next ASEAN Summit
The summit can only be chaired by member states of the regional bloc, of which China is not a member

Claim: President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. suggested that China host the next Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit to see if Beijing would follow the code of conduct in the South China Sea.

Rating: FALSE

Why we fact-checked this: The claim was made in a YouTube video published by Boss Balita TV, a channel with 342,000 subscribers. As of writing, the video has gained 22,915 views and 790 likes.

The video’s narrator said: “Ayon sa nakalap nating impormasyon, kinausap ni Pangulong Marcos ang lahat ng lider ng ASEAN na sana sa China naman ang susunod na summit ng ASEAN para makita kung susunod sa code of conduct ang China sa sinumpaan nito sa ASEAN.

(According to the information we gathered, President Marcos talked to all ASEAN leaders and suggested that the next summit be held in China to see if it would follow the ASEAN code of conduct.)

The video was posted on September 5, the start of the 43rd ASEAN Summit in Jakarta, Indonesia.

The bottom line: China cannot host the summit because it is not a member of the regional bloc. According to the ASEAN Charter, only member states holding the chairmanship can host the summit. 

No records or reports from the summit indicate that Marcos suggested changing the future host of the conference to China.

Chairmanship of ASEAN rotates annually based on the alphabetical order of the member states’ English names. Laos is set to host the next summit in 2024, Malaysia in 2025, and the Philippines in 2026 as Myanmar skips its turn.

The ASEAN member states are Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam. China is part of ASEAN Plus Three, which aims to promote East Asian Cooperation with ASEAN as the driving force. 

Discussions about China: Ahead of his departure for Indonesia, Marcos had promised to bring up issues related to the South China Sea.

During the summit, Marcos reiterated the Philippines’ commitment to a “peaceful resolution” of the disputes in the South China Sea and urged ASEAN to stand against the “dangerous use of coast guard and maritime militia vessels in the South China Sea.”

Tensions between Manila and Beijing flared in August amid Chinese harassment of Philippine vessels and the Asian giant’s continued refusal to recognize the 2016 Hague ruling invalidating its claims over the entire South China Sea.

Still in progress: ASEAN and China have agreed to create a Code of Conduct (COC) in the South China Sea, and in 2002 adopted a non-binding Declaration on the Conduct of Parties to uphold peace and stability in the disputed waters. Ten years on, provisions of the COC remain under negotiation. The latest discussions for the COC were held in Manila last August.

ASEAN’s joint statement with China during the 26th ASEAN-China Summit on September 6 did not list the finalization of the COC under its agreements.

Misleading videos: The YouTube channel that posted the false claim has been fact-checked several times by Rappler:

– Kyle Marcelino/Rappler.com

Kyle Marcelino is a graduate of Rappler’s fact-checking mentorship program. This fact check was reviewed by a member of Rappler’s research team and a senior editor. Learn more about Rappler’s fact-checking mentorship program here.

Keep us aware of suspicious Facebook pages, groups, accounts, websites, articles, or photos in your network by contacting us at factcheck@rappler.com. Let us battle disinformation one Fact Check at a time.

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