Date: Nov 17, 2015
By: Matt Spetalnick and Rosemarie Francisco
U.S. President Barack Obama put tensions over Beijing’s claims to the South China Sea
squarely on the agenda ahead of an Asia-Pacific summit on Tuesday, pointedly visiting the main warship of close ally the Philippines shortly after he landed in Manila.
While Obama affirmed a commitment to the Philippines’ security and to freedom of navigation in regional waters, a senior official in Beijing said China was the real victim of the waterway dispute because other countries had illegally occupied islands there.
The verbal jousting could cast a shadow over the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit of about 20 heads of state and government, including Chinese President Xi Jinping. Manila has said it will not bring up the maritime dispute to avoid embarrassing Xi, but could not prevent others from doing so.
Xi also arrived in Manila on Tuesday, but did not make any public comments. [FULL STORY]