China criticises US for giving tacit backing to Philippines in sea dispute
BEIJING (REUTERS) - China criticised United States Secretary of State John Kerry for giving tacit backing to the Philippines' stance in a tense maritime dispute, stressing again that it rejects Manila's attempt to seek arbitration.
The Philippines, a US ally, has angered China by launching an arbitration case with the United Nations to challenge the legal validity of Beijing's sweeping claims over the resource-rich South China Sea.
The United States has refrained from taking sides in the dispute, one of Asia's biggest security headaches, but has expressed a national interest in freedom of navigation through one of the world's busiest shipping channels.
Mr Kerry told leaders at the East Asia Summit in Brunei, including Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, that all claimants "can engage in arbitration and other means of peaceful negotiation".