Washington: China is unilaterally trying to assert and act on territorial claims in the South China Sea, US Secretary of State John Kerry has said and called for resolving the disputes there through diplomacy and negotiation.
"We are all aware that right now is a critical time in the Asia-Pacific region," Kerry said.
"China seems determined to unilaterally assert and act on territorial claims in the South China Sea that several countries in the region dispute," he said in his address at the Pacific Council on International Policy in Los Angeles.
"We don't take a position on the disputes themselves, but we do take the position that they ought to be resolved without unilateral action, without militarisation, through diplomacy, through negotiation," said the Secretary of State.
In his remarks, Kerry also batted for Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).
"If we don't set these rules in conjunction with other countries in an effort to raise, elevate standards and put our values into the context of our trade ? if we don't step up to the plate and shape the agenda, believe me, others will be all too eager to fill the void by moving in the dangerous direction of low or no standards and no accountability, no transparency, no enforceability, no rule of law," he said.
"Right now, China is working to finish its own version of TPP, binding its market with 16 countries, extending from India to Japan. And you can be sure their agreement doesn't raise labour or climate standards or protect intellectual property or promote fair play or, needless to say, insist on a free and open Internet," Kerry said.
"I can't think of anything more dangerous or damaging to the rule of law and structure we have worked for since the end of World War II. In other words, supporting TPP shouldn't be a hard choice at all," he added.