U.S.-China tensions risk spilling over into Asia summit
By Ben Blanchard and Olivia Rondonuwu
Tensions between the United States and China spilled over into meetings of Asia-Pacific leaders on Friday as the two countries jostled over how to handle competing claims to the South China Sea.
Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao demanded that “outside forces” had no excuse to get involved in the complex maritime dispute, a veiled warning to the United States and other countries to keep out of the sensitive issue.
“It ought to be resolved through friendly consultations and discussions by countries directly involved. Outside forces should not, under any pretext, get involved,” Wen told a meeting with Southeast Asian leaders, several of whose countries claim sovereignty to parts of the South China Sea.
The comments were carried on the Chinese Foreign Ministry’s website (www.mfa.gov.cn).
The remark is the latest barb between the two countries in recent weeks when President Barack Obama has sought to reassert U.S. presence in the Asia-Pacific region to counter the growing influence of China, its biggest economic rival.