Envoys from across the Asia-Pacific region and beyond are in Brunei for regional security meetings focusing on restarting nuclear disarmament talks with North Korea and rival territorial claims to the South China Sea.
The meetings include the 20th ASEAN Regional Forum, which opens Tuesday.
On Sunday, the 10-member group opened its annual Foreign Minister's Meeting, where Philippine Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario renewed criticism of China for what he called a "massive" military buildup aimed at seizing control of energy and fishing rights in large parts of the South China Sea. Friction between the the two countries has surged in the past two years to include several naval confrontations.
"They have constantly ships there that vary in number, and we are prevented in our own EEZ (Exclusive Economic Zone) from fishing, from sourcing our natural resources and from enforcing our laws."
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry arrived Monday in Brunei, where he is due to meet with his counterparts from China, Japan and South Korea. He will also meet with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov amid ongoing discussions about the situation in Syria, and Moscow's decision not to return Edward Snowden, who leaked security secrets, back to the U.S. to face espionage charges.
an accused U.S. spy and the situation in Syria.
Envoys from the United States, North Korea and four other nations involved in the now-stalled denuclearization talks are due in the Brunei capital.
North Korea has in recent weeks proposed restarting the stalled talks, which until 2008 provided the cash-strapped country with crucial energy and food aid in exchange for shuttering its nuclear program.
Pyongyang quit the talks that year and triggered international condemnation with a nuclear test in 2009 and a second test earlier this year.