China and U.S. Could Not Bridge Gaps on Differing VIews on Maritime Disputes in South China Sea
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Chinese President Hu Jintao agreed to strengthen mutual economic cooperation Wednesday during talks in Beijing, but the two sides couldn't narrow their differences on the ongoing territorial disputes in the South China Sea.
Although Clinton made it clear that the U.S. took neutral positions on the contending territorial claims, Clinton emphasized a multilateral approach to solve the disputes, and the creation of a binding code of conduct among related countries on the issue.
[Interview : Hillary Clinton, U.S. Secretary of State ] "Our interest is in the maintenance of peace and stability, respect for international law, freedom of navigation, and unimpeded lawful commerce."
On the other hand, the Chinese foreign minister reaffirmed Beijing's stance that the territorial disputes should be dealt with bilaterally.
[Interview : Yang Jiechi, Chinese Foreign Minister ] "The disputes should be dealt through negotiations, between countries directly involved in the claims, based on history, facts, and the international law."
Experts also think China will stand its ground on territorial issues.
[Interview : David Zweig, Asso. Dean of the School of Humanities and Social Sciences
Hong Kong University of Science and Technology] "We certainly won't see any changes in the immediate discussion. Whether you would get a leadership that would say we do support multilateral discussion that would already be a major concession, because China has worked hard to avoid that at the recent ASEAN meeting, so I don't think they're going to give that up right now."
Clinton could not meet China's likely next leader Xi Jinping during her time in China, as Xi cancelled a meeting with her due to unforeseen scheduling reasons.
Clinton continues her Asian tour with trips to other countries in the region, starting with a visit to East Timor on Thursday.
Park Ji-won, Arirang News.
Reporter : firstname.lastname@example.org