Hanoi (Vietnam): The US defence secretary
says high seas disputes in Asia should be resolved through
negotiations, words meant to reassure China`s jittery
neighbours following a series of maritime incidents involving
Beijing that has the region on edge.
Defence Secretary Robert Gates says regional claims
over disputed maritime territory should be resolved peacefully
in accordance with the international laws of the sea.
"We don`t take sides in this," Gates told reporters
today in Hanoi. "All these disputes should be resolved
peacefully and through arbitration and negotiation," he said.
The comments come as defence ministers from Southeast
Asia meet with their counterparts from eight other countries
in Vietnam. Gates was expected to meet with a high-ranking
Chinese military official later today.