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U.S. Pushes For South China Sea Talks

Matt Pressberg |
July 12, 2012 | 2:41 p.m. PDT

Executive Producer

The South China Sea is rich in resources. (Yu Ninjie/Wikimedia Commons)
The South China Sea is rich in resources. (Yu Ninjie/Wikimedia Commons)
United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton pushed Thursday for open and multilateral dialogue and a "code of conduct" among the six competing Southeast Asian nations who have staked claims on the South China Sea. As Reuters reports, things have been heating up in the resource-rich and strategic tropical waters lately, recently coming to a head with a multi-month standoff between China and the Philippines over a disputed reef.

Clinton, speaking at the Association of Southeast Asian Nations Regional Forum in Cambodia, expressed concern about charged rhetoric and "worrisome instances of economic coercion and the problematic use of military and government vessels in connection with disputes among fishermen." In addition to China and the Philippines, Taiwan, Vietnam, Brunei and Malaysia have also claimed parts of the sea, which may contain up to 213 billion barrels of oil.

China has long indicated a preference to resolve South China Sea disputes bilaterally and without "external forces," but according to a U.S. official, is now more amenable to a group-based solution.


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