September 3, 2012 - 22:16 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - China and its neighbors in Southeast Asia must move to draw up a code of conduct in coming months to help resolve disputes in the South China Sea, and should refrain from threats and coercion that have sent tension skyrocketing, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said on Monday, Sept 3, Reuters reported.
Clinton, visiting Indonesia ahead of a trip to China this week, said she would tell Beijing and other claimants that it was essential to get faltering diplomacy back on track and move toward a deal.
"The United States does not take a position on competing territorial claims over land features, but we believe the nations of the region should work collaboratively together to resolve disputes without coercion, without intimidation, without threats and certainly without the use of force," she said.
The South China Sea is one of a number of potential flashpoints that have emerged since the Obama administration announced it was "pivoting" U.S. attention to the Asia-Pacific following years of military engagement in wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Other disputes over maritime territory involving China and key U.S. allies South Korea and Japan have also sharpened, adding to strain on U.S.-Chinese relations as both countries make their way toward political transitions this year.
Clinton will travel to Beijing for Wednesday talks with top Chinese officials including outgoing President Hu Jintao and Vice President Xi Jinping, the man tipped to replace him at China's paramount leader following a Communist Party congress later this year.
She said her message would be that it was time to calm to the waters and that a mutually agreed code of conduct was the best way to do this.
"It is critical for the work that has begun on the code of conduct to continue. The United States believes very strongly that no party should take any steps that would increase tensions or do anything that could be viewed as coercive or intimidating to advance their territorial claims," Clinton said.