2014-08-04T224029Z_1007000001_LYNXMPEA730U1_RTROPTP_2_CNEWS-US-USA-SOUTHCHINASEA-ASEAN

U.S. to press South China Sea freeze despite China rejection

Kerry addresses a forum on food security, climate change and resilience during the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit in WashingtonBy David Brunnstrom WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, at a meeting with Southeast Asian nations this weekend, will press for a voluntary freeze on actions aggravating territorial disputes in the South China Sea, in spite of Beijing’s rejection of the idea. Daniel Russel, the State Department’s senior diplomat for the East Asia region, said ahead of Kerry’s trip to the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) that the call was not new and was “not rocket science,” but “common sense.” A priority for Kerry would be to lower tensions in the South China Sea, where about $5 trillion of maritime trade passes annually, and China and four members of the 10-nation Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) have rival claims.

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