Asean summit: Obama urges dialogue in disputes, not 'bullying and coercion'

US President Barack Obama giving a speech at the Asean Business and Investment Summit in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on Nov 21, 2015.
US President Barack Obama giving a speech at the Asean Business and Investment Summit in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on Nov 21, 2015. PHOTO: REUTERS

KUALA LUMPUR (REUTERS, AFP)- US President Barack Obama said on Saturday (Nov 21) the United States was working with Southeast Asian allies to preserve maritime security and freedom of navigation and said economic disputes should not be settled by bullying.

"We believe economic disputes should be resolved by dialogue not by bullying or coercion," he said in a speech on trade and economic integration at the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) summit in Malaysia.

Obama did not name or accuse any particular country.

The United States is working ... to uphold the freedom of navigation and ensure disputes in the region are resolved peacefully," he said.

Obama and his counterparts from China, India, Japan and elsewhere are meeting in Kuala Lumpur for two days of talks hosted by the 10-country Asean.

The summit marks Round Two in a week of top-level meetings in the region that kicked off in Manila with the 21-member Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) gathering in Manila.