VIENTIANE (Reuters) – U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said on Tuesday he supported the resumption of talks between China and the Philippines over the South China Sea, following an international court ruling against Beijing over the dispute earlier this month.
China did not participate in and has refused to accept the July 12 ruling by the Permanent Court of Arbitration, based in The Hague, in which U.S. ally Manila won an emphatic legal victory.
China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi had asked Kerry to lend his support for bilateral talks to restart between Manila and Beijing in a meeting between the two in the Laos capital of Vientiane on Monday.
“The foreign minister said the time has come to move away from public tensions and turn the page,” Kerry told a news conference. “And we agree with that … no claimant should be acting in a way that is provocative, no claimant should take steps that wind up raising tensions.”
The court ruling has exacerbated tensions between the 10 members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), which are pulled between their desire to assert their sovereignty while fostering ties with an increasingly assertive Beijing.