Obama, ASEAN leaders urge peaceful resolution to South China Sea disputes
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Obama, ASEAN leaders urge peaceful resolution to South China Sea disputes

RANCHO MIRAGE, Calif. (AP) — President Barack Obama and the leaders of Southeast Asia are calling for peaceful resolution of the region’s maritime disputes as they conclude a summit in California.

Obama told a news conference that disputes must be resolved by legal means, includes a case brought by the Philippines that challenges China’s sweeping claims over most of the South China Sea.

China has refused to take part in the proceedings, but Obama says parties to the U.N. law of the seas are obligated to respect the ruling, expected later this year.

Obama has been hosting 10 leaders of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, or ASEAN, in the U.S. for the first time.

Their joint statement Tuesday after two days of talks avoided direct reference to China.