Clinton hails deal on South China Sea disputes

MATTHEW LEE - Associated Press
July 22, 2011
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U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, left, is greeted by U.S. Ambassador to ASEAN David Carden, right, as U.S. Ambassador to Indonesia Scott Marciel, center right, looks on, upon her arrival at Ngurah Rai International Airport in Denpasar, Bali, Indonesia, Thursday, July 21, 2011. Clinton flew into this tourists island for a regional security conference to discuss recent flare-ups in the South China Sea, North Korea's nuclear weapons program and other issues that threaten to undermine regional security. (AP Photo/Dita Alangkara)

BALI, Indonesia (AP) — U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton's is praising a preliminary agreement between China and Southeast Asian Nations to peacefully resolve competing territorial claims in the strategic South China Sea.

At a meeting with China's foreign minister on the sidelines of a Southeast Asian regional security forum in Bali, Indonesia on Friday, Clinton commended the two sides for reaching the deal, which aims to prevent conflict over several disputed islands and potential oil and gas resources. The U.S. has said peaceful resolution to the claims is an American national security interest.

China been accused in recent months of trying to intimidate oil exploration by the Philippines and Vietnam in waters that are partially claimed also by those two countries and Taiwan, Brunei and Malaysia.