Asean Summit: China seeks to soothe sea rifts with Asia nations
BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN, Brunei (AFP) - Asian leaders met against a backdrop of divisive territorial disputes and flagging free trade efforts on Wednesday, with China flexing more diplomatic muscle in the absence of US President Barack Obama.
Chinese Premier Li Keqiang takes the baton at the meetings in Brunei from President Xi Jinping, who took centrestage at an Asia-Pacific summit in Bali with Mr Obama stuck at home due to the US government shutdown.
The two days of talks in Brunei also include the United States, Japan, and South Korea.
In Brunei, Mr Obama's top diplomat John Kerry will shoulder the task of showing support for America's Asian allies, wary over Beijing's uncompromising territorial claims to areas including most of the South China Sea.