The Straits Times
Published on Nov 20, 2012

Obama set to dive into South China Sea turmoil


PHNOM PENH (AFP) - United States (US) President Barack Obama is set to dive into the tumultuous diplomatic waters of the South China Sea on Tuesday at a summit in which rival claims to the strategically vital area have dominated.

Mr Obama is widely expected to express concerns about the disputes between China and its South-east Asian neighbours, which have stoked tensions across the region this year and hampered efforts to foster economic co-operation.

Mr Obama and Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao are among the leaders of 18 nations in the Cambodian capital of Phnom Penh for the two-day East Asia Summit.

Repeating a long-held Chinese position, Mr Wen insisted on Monday that the disputes should not be "internationalised" and discussed at multilateral events such as the summit.