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Clinton Urges Cooperation on Resources in South China Sea

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton suggested joint development of energy resources in disputed waters of the South China Sea in an approach that contrasts with that of China.

She urged the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations and China to consider cooperative arrangements to exploit hydrocarbon resources in the waters. The decision-making process would be collaborative instead of dominated by China alone, according to a U.S. official who was not authorized to speak publicly on the issue.

Measures “could include equitable joint exploration and exploitation arrangements in areas of unresolved territorial sovereignty,” Clinton said in comments to a regional security summit. “The goal should be to find creative ways to provide an endowment for future generations and to avoid unnecessary conflict.”

China and four Asean nations have competing claims in the South China Sea. Vietnam and the Philippines reject China’s map of the waters as a basis for joint development.

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