Japan warns that South China Sea row could damage regional stability
PHNOM PENH (REUTERS) - Japan warned on Monday that a row over the South China Sea could damage "peace and stability"in Asia as China stalled on a plan to ease tensions and disagreements flared between the Philippines and Cambodia over the dispute.
The acrimony provided an uneasy backdrop to United States President Barack Obama's arrival in Cambodia for a regional summit where he is expected to urge China and Southeast Asian nations to resolve the row, one of Asia's biggest security issues.
Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda challenged efforts by summit host Cambodia, a staunch China ally, to limit discussions on the mineral-rich sea, where China's territorial claims overlap those of four Southeast Asian countries and of Taiwan.
"Prime Minister Noda raised the issue of the South China Sea, noting that this is of common concern for the international community, which would have direct impact on peace and stability of the Asia-Pacific," a Japanese government statement said after Mr Noda met Asean leaders.