ASEAN KEY DESTINATIONS
US-China discuss sea conflict
In Beijing, China and Vietnam agreed to take measures to “safeguard peace and stability in the South China Sea,” and seek the speedy implementation of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the disputed waters.
Senior US official Kurt Campbell said that he assured China during the talks in Hawaii that the United States welcomed a strong role for Beijing, which has warned Washington against involvement in the intensifying disputes.
“We had a candid and clear discussion about these issues,” Campbell, the assistant secretary of state of East Asian and Pacific affairs, told reporters after the session in Honolulu.
“We want tensions to subside. We have a strong interest in the maintenance in peace and stability, and we are seeking a dialogue among all of the key players,” he added.
Incidents in recent weeks have heightened tension on the West Philippine Sea, a strategic and potentially oil-rich area where China has sometimes overlapping disputes with Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam.
Vietnam carried out live-fire drills and the Philippines ordered the deployment of its naval flagship after accusing China of aggressive actions.
While the US and China often talk, the session was the first to focus specifically on the Asia-Pacific region. The dialogue was set up during the top-level Strategic and Economic Dialogue in Washington, D.C. in May.
Campbell said that the US and China would hold another round of the dialogue in China at a time to be determined.
“We had a useful and productive exchange of views,” he said. “I thought the overall tone and content was constructive.”
The US and China conducted “open, frank and constructive discussions with the goal of obtaining a better understanding of each other’s intentions, policies and actions toward the Asia-Pacific region,” Campbell added.
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