Kerry shows support for South China Sea code of conduct
United States Secretary of State John Kerry threw his support behind a "substantive code of conduct" in dealing with the overlapping territorial claims in the South China Sea on Monday, emphasising its importance in maintaining stability in the region.
His comments come a day after warnings by the Philippines of "increasing militarisation" of the area due to the massive presence of Chinese military in the disputed waters and rapidly souring ties between Beijing and Manila.
"As a pacific nation, and a resident power, the United States has a national interest in the maintenance of peace and stability, respect for international law, unimpeded lawful commerce and freedom of navigation in the South China Sea," said Mr Kerry in his opening address to Asean foreign minsters at the Asean-US ministerial conference in Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei.
"As we have said many times before, while we do not take a position on competing territorial claims over land features, we have a strong interest in the manners in which the disputes of the South China Sea are addressed, and in the conduct of the parties."