MANILA, Philippines – The United States wants stronger ties with China but is committed to defending allies in the region, US Secretary of State John Kerry said Tuesday. Kerry said he and US President Barack Obama would be working for the interests of their allies in the South China Sea when they meet leaders of the Asia Pacific region at two summits in Beijing and Myanmar this month.
Speaking before the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies in Washington last Tuesday, Kerry said one of their priorities in at the Asia Pacific meetings is to strengthen “the institutions and reinforce the norms that contribute to a rules-based, stable region.”
“These are our goals for the rebalance and the objectives that we are working to pursue. We are working together with our allies and partners across Asia,” Kerry said.
“These are the goals that the President will discuss with other leaders next week at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation meeting in Beijing and also at the East Asia Summit that follows in Burma.”
The Philippines has continued to move for a settlement of the maritime dispute over reefs and other islands within its exclusive economic zone with China through the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), including its provisions on dispute settlement, particularly arbitration.