China sidesteps South China Sea island disputes
BEIJING (AP) - China is taking a conciliatory approach with its South-east Asian neighbors, in sharp contrast to angry rhetoric targeting Japan over disputed islands.
Vice-President Xi Jinping - China's presumed next leader - emphasised economic ties and civic exchanges in remarks on Friday to delegates from the 10 countries that make up the Association of South-east Asian Nations. Mr Xi avoided mentioning South China Sea territorial disputes with the Philippines, Vietnam and others that have recently flared again.
That's in sharp contrast with recent violent protests in China and angry statements directed at Japan over islands in the East China Sea that both countries claim.
The contrasting approaches highlight Beijing's desire to keep the disputes in check and avoid drawing in the United States, which maintains close ties with many countries in the region.