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U.S. must remain neutral in South and East China seas: Clinton


09:55, November 15, 2012

PERTH, Australia, Nov. 14 (Xinhua) -- U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has joined Australian Foreign Minister Senator Bob Carr in reaffirming U.S. and Australian neutrality on territorial disputes across the South and East China seas.

In the official AUSMIN 2012 Joint Communique, the United States and Australia said both nations sought a peaceful resolution to South and East China sea disputes while also welcoming a "strong, prosperous and peaceful China, which plays a constructive role in promoting regional security and prosperity."

Senator Carr told reporters in Perth that the meetings included "no language of containment" regarding China and that the United States and Australia "do not take sides on competing territorial claims."

The official communique stressed the importance of respecting sovereign territory.

"We reaffirmed that we do not take a position on competing territorial claims in the South China Sea. We share a common interest, with other members of the international community, in the maintenance of peace and stability, respect for international law, freedom of navigation, and unimpeded lawful commerce."

Clinton also emphasized that increased cooperation with China is mutually beneficial to all stakeholders in the Asia-Pacific.

"So this is not a zero sum competition," she said, adding "The entire region can benefit from a peaceful rise of China and as I' ve said many times we welcome a strong and prosperous China that plays a constructive and greater role in world affairs."

"The Pacific is big enough for all of us," Clinton also said.

AUSMIN is the annual forum for bilateral consultations, held alternating between Australia and the United States.

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