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Clinton Backs Vietnamese Efforts to Resolve S. China Sea Dispute

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton speaks during the American Chamber of Commerce reception at the Hilton Opera Hotel in Hanoi, Vietnam, July 10, 2012.U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton speaks during the American Chamber of Commerce reception at the Hilton Opera Hotel in Hanoi, Vietnam, July 10, 2012.
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton speaks during the American Chamber of Commerce reception at the Hilton Opera Hotel in Hanoi, Vietnam, July 10, 2012.
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton speaks during the American Chamber of Commerce reception at the Hilton Opera Hotel in Hanoi, Vietnam, July 10, 2012.
HANOI — U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is backing Vietnam's efforts to resolve a dispute over mineral and fishing rights in the South China Sea.  This week's summit of South East Asian nations could resolve some of the competing claims in the region.

China Marine Surveillance vessels patrol the South China Sea as part of Beijing's bid to advance sovereignty and jurisdiction over the waters - parts of which are claimed by Vietnam, the Philippines, Taiwan, Brunei, and Malaysia.

Those competing claims top the agenda of this week's meeting of foreign ministers from the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN).

Following talks with Vietnamese Foreign Minister Phan Binh Minh, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton backed Hanoi's diplomatic approach to the standoff.

"The United States greatly appreciates Vietnam's contributions to a collaborative, diplomatic resolution of disputes and a reduction of tensions in the South China Sea," said Clinton.  "And we look to ASEAN to make rapid progress with China toward an effective code of conduct in order to ensure that as challenges arise they are managed and resolved peacefully through a consensual process in accordance with established principles of international law."

China says the regional forum is not the place to settle the maritime dispute.

"We believe the South China Sea issue is not an issue between China and the ASEAN, it is an issue between China and certain ASEAN members," explained China's Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Weimin.  "The foreign ministerial meetings at the ASEAN forum are an important platform for relevant countries to enhance mutual trust and cooperation.  It is not a proper place to discuss the South China Sea issue."

Given China's opposition, Institute of Southeast Asian Studies senior fellow Ian Storey says there is little chance of a breakthrough by ASEAN.

"China opposed discussion of the South China Sea issue and when it is raised, it is likely to react quite angrily as it has in the past. This tends to generate more heat than light on the subject," said Storey.

Vietnam is enlisting India's support in the South China Sea, since Indian investors have been active in oil and gas exploration there for decades.

"As far as the territorial disputes of different countries in this area are concerned, we believe that this dispute should be resolved by these countries through peaceful dialogue and it should be resolved as per the norms of the International law," said Indian ambassador to Vietnam Ranjit Rae.

Vietnam's National Assembly has passed a law asserting sovereignty over two South China Sea islands, a move that China's Foreign Affairs Committee says could aggravate the standoff.

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Comment Sorting
by: MH from: Korea
July 25, 2012 6:26 AM
United States had already established US Marine base in Australia; US should commit and establish Marine, Navy, and Army bases in Vietnam to prepare to go to war with China.

by: Anonymous
July 24, 2012 2:15 PM
If China wants to take something there, there is nothing any country can do. People always talk about the military power, and although this is true, it's the economic power that allows China to flex its muscles. One lesson China took to heart from the previous Soviet Union was to focus on both the military and economic backbone.

by: Tommy Clark from: USA
July 11, 2012 5:44 PM
It is the issue between China and ASEAN. Despite billions and political pressure applied by China, ASEAN is slowing awaken to Chinese arrogance and relentless ambition of dominance. It realizes that the SCS conflict may now involve 4 members but, China will not stop there once it lawless regard for land/sea ownership is achieved. All China has to do is to add a few more dashes to its history-based/first discovery map of thousand years and Cambodia, Thailand, Indonesia, Singapore will be part of " dispute " water. ASEAN is ready, East and South Asia are committing and the world should be engaged before China becomes too big to fail problem. China only knows the language of aggression, deal with them aggressively.
In Response

by: aquino 4 from: philipine
July 17, 2012 10:43 AM
@ Tommy Clark, you're just evil complainant sheep, we must be aware of the intentions of the false prophet, you spread the word peace, human rights, but you are acting arbitrarily, you're trampling human rights asia, africa, you plundered the natural wealth of the country poor, then you cried cried as if you were gods helper, actually it's just you lucifer devil, it's just the American people a false prophet who prophesied in the Bible in

by: Zong from: USA
July 11, 2012 12:11 PM
I don't think Asean can solve the south China Sea dispute problem. I want to see how much the power of Beijing can control over the south China Sea? In the WW II China had been bow Japan, but now I would like to see how high Beijing can turn its head up?

by: Rider I from: USA
July 10, 2012 9:27 PM
A dispute is like 10 or 20 miles at most pushing it. This is like 400 miles off the legal coast line. As the legal coastline is 200 nautical miles from land. The area they are claiming is 600-800 miles away from China. This is an war invasion. And should be dealt with and rebutted with proper proxy wars.

by: Dan Pham from: Canada
July 10, 2012 3:40 PM
Indeed it's a great impact for the region. The U.S. alliances with Korea, Japan, Thailand, Philippines and Asean have never been stronger. The U.S. foreign policy has shifted to Asia Pacific at the right time and at the right place. When was the last time a U.S. secretary of state received warm welcomes from many Asian countries, including Vietnam a former foe and Lao? When was the last time we heard about Korea-Japan working together?

And if we look at recent international events, we'll notice that the U.S. foreign policy has shifted from unilateral-decision making power to engaging and participating in multilateral organizations. This is a major change in U.S. foreign policy and has become very effective. Countries like Vietnam and Philippines are again looking for the U.S. leadership.

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