China rebuffs US, Asia pressure in sea dispute

By REUTERS
November 20, 2011 06:02

 
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NUSA DUA, Indonesia - China pushed back on Saturday against a week of US pressure to resolve a rancorous dispute over territorial claims in the South China Sea, a crucial, mineral-rich commercial shipping lane at the heart of growing tensions among Asian leaders.

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao chastised US President Barack Obama for raising the issue during an Asia-Pacific leaders summit, hours after Obama told Wen the United States wants the sea lanes kept open and peaceful, capping two weeks of Sino-US tensions.

Vietnam, the Philippines, Taiwan, Malaysia and Brunei all have claims to parts of the sea lanes, while China claims large parts of the region, which might hold rich deposits of oil and gas.

Obama ended a nine-day trip with a meeting with Wen where, according to US officials, he raised US concerns over festering economic issues such as China's currency policy, after huddling with Asian leaders in a concerted effort to court the world's fastest-growing region.

US lawmakers have long argued Beijing keeps the value of the yuan down to help drive the country's exports engine, a stance they say costs American jobs.


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