Obama says ASEAN summit discussed need to lower tensions in South China Sea

RANCHO MIRAGE, Calif. U.S. President Barack Obama said on Tuesday he and leaders of Southeast Asian countries meeting in a California summit discussed the need to ease tensions in the South China Sea, and agreed that any territorial disputes there should be resolved peacefully and through legal means.

“The United States and ASEAN are reaffirming our strong commitment to a regional order where international rules and norms and the rights of all nations, large and small, are upheld,” Obama said at the end of the summit with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.

“We discussed the need for tangible steps in the South China Sea to lower tensions including a halt to further reclamation, new construction and militarization of disputed areas,” he said.

(Reporting by Jeff Mason; Writing by Mohammad Zargham; Editing by Eric Beech)

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