US Secretary of State John Kerry encouraged Southeast Asian leaders on Wednesday in their efforts to resolve maritime disputes with China based on international legal principles, rather than by making individual deals as China would prefer.
Mr. Kerry arrived in Brunei to substitute for President Obama at the annual meeting of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, or Asean, and the broader East Asia Summit meeting of 18 countries on Thursday. Mr. Obama canceled his appearances because of the government shutdown in Washington.
“A finalised code of conduct, in which all abide by a common set of rules and standards, is something that will benefit the entire Asia-Pacific community of nations — and beyond,” Mr. Kerry told the leaders.
Mr. Kerry was referring to the recent stepped-up efforts by the Asean countries to persuade a resistant China to agree to a legally binding code of conduct that would govern…
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