Millennium Post

Obama warns China against ‘coercion’ in maritime disputes

US president Barack Obama has warned China against use of ‘intimidation or coercion’ in managing its maritime disputes with neighbours and called for a peaceful resolution of conflicts.

In a meeting with two top Chinese officials, who are visiting Washington to attend the US-China strategic and economic dialogue, Obama also expressed his disappointment over handling of the case of Edward Snowden, a former CIA contractor who unveiled details of US online snooping. Obama met with China’s special representatives to the US-China dialogue, vice-premier Wang Yang and state councilor Yang Jiechi at the White House after the conclusion of the dialogue.

‘The president urged China to manage its maritime disputes with its neighbours peacefully, without the use of intimidation or coercion,’ the White House said of the meeting. Tensions have steadily risen between China and Japan, recently in the East China Sea.

The Philippines and Vietnam have also charged that China has used assertive means to exert claims in the South China Sea. China claims nearly all of the sea, even waters approaching the coasts of neighbouring countries. ASEAN members Brunei and Malaysia, as well as Taiwan, also have competing claims to parts of the sea.

‘He added that the United States would continue to speak out in support of international norms such as the protection of universal human rights. The President expressed his disappointment and concern with China’s handling of the Snowden case,’ the White House said.

Obama and the Chinese special representatives agreed on the fundamental importance of denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula, and welcomed efforts to deepen cooperation to achieve that shared goal.

‘The president reiterated concerns about cyber-enabled theft of trade secrets, and welcomed joint efforts to develop rules and norms of behaviour in cyberspace,’ it said.
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