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Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
Topic - Surin Pitsuwan
Southeast Asian leaders decided Sunday to ask China to start formal talks "as soon as possible" on crafting a legally binding accord aimed at preventing an outbreak of violence in disputed South China Sea territories, a top diplomat said.
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton is in Beijing to press Chinese authorities to agree to peacefully resolve disputes with their smaller neighbors over competing territorial claims in the South China Sea. But as she began her meetings here, China questioned the stated neutrality of the United States.
Myanmar's president said Tuesday that elections won by democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi and her party were successful, issuing the first government endorsement of the historic polls.
New differences could undercut attempts by Southeast Asian countries and China to forge a pact aimed at preventing territorial conflicts from erupting into violence, diplomats said Tuesday at the start of a regional meeting.
Leaders of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations made the decision during their annual summit in the Cambodian capital of Phnom Penh, ASEAN Secretary-General Surin Pitsuwan said.
"They would like to see the commencement of the discussion as soon as possible because this is an issue of interest, concern and worry of the international community," Mr. Surin told reporters. "It's an issue between ASEAN and China to resolve together It needs two to tango."