As the tensions between China and other countries over the sovereignty of the South China Sea continues, Reuters reports Southeast Asian leaders want to hold formal talks with China about the South China Sea disputes as soon as possible:
Cambodia’s Prime Minister Hun Sen will tell Wen that ASEAN wants to begin talks on a binding Code of Conduct, aimed at reducing the chance of naval flashpoints, as soon as possible, ASEAN Secretary General Surin Pitsuwan told reporters.
“Prime Minister Hun Sen himself will be discussing with the PM of China tonight and delivering this consensus on the ASEAN side,” Surin said.
“They would like to see the commencement of the discussion as soon as possible because this is an issue of interest, concern and worry of the international community.”
Asked about the ASEAN request for formal talks, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Qin Gang said consultations with ASEAN nations were ongoing and that the issue should not be a “stumbling block” for relations between China and the region.
The United States has also played a continued role in the disputes, and US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s visit earlier this year had reflected the tensions in the region. President Barack Obama will also visit Cambodia to attend the summit, from AP:
U.S. President Barack Obama, would also fly to Cambodia to attend on Tuesday the so-called East Asia Summit, an annual forum where ASEAN leaders and their counterparts from eight other nations, including China and the United states, would discuss security and economic concerns. Washington has backed calls for the drafting of a South China Sea nonaggression pact.
It’s unclear how China would respond, with ASEAN diplomats saying they have gotten unclear signals from Chinese officials.
Obama was expected to reiterate Washington’s call for a legally-binding code of conduct in
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