ASEAN: The Obama administration pressed Beijing today to accept a code of conduct for resolving territorial disputes in the resource-rich South China Sea.
US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton will meet with Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi on the sidelines of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations’ annual conference, where several governments have expressed worry about China’s expansive maritime claims.
China claims virtually the entire area and has created an entirely new city to administer it, sparking deep concern from rival claimants. The sea hosts about a third of the world’s cargo traffic, has rich fishing grounds and is believed to store vast oil and gas reserves.
“The United States has no territorial claims there and we do not take sides in disputes about territorial or maritime boundaries,” Clinton told foreign ministers gathered in Cambodia’s capital. “But we do have an interest in freedom of navigation, the maintenance of peace and stability, respect for international law and unimpeded lawful commerce in the South China Sea.”
Mrs Clinton stressed the importance of China and the US working together on sensitive issues.
“I am delighted that we are going to be issuing a joint media note,” she told the meeting in Phnom Penh. ”It is an important signal that the United States and China not only can but will work together in Asia.”
Foreign ministers of The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), a 10-nation bloc are meeting in the Cambodian capital with counterparts from the region including China, and Mrs Clinton and European Union representative Catherine Ashton.