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US warns leaders of Asia-Pacific over territorial disputes


Increasingly tense territorial rows in the Asia-Pacific threaten the global economy, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton warned on Sunday at the end of a leaders’ summit plagued by divisions. The annual gathering of Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) heads was meant to build goodwill in long-term efforts to tear down trade barriers within their bloc, which accounts for more than half of the world's economic output.


While progress was made to cut tariffs on environmentally-friendly goods, and commitments renewed to fight protectionism, bitter territorial disputes disrupted the two-day event in port city of Vladivostok.


Japanese PM Yoshihiko Noda and Chinese President Hu Jintao did not hold customary talks on the summit sidelines because of a row. Similarly Noda and South Korea's Lee Myung-Bak -- both allies of Washington -- shunned each other.


Philippine President Benigno Aquino also failed to meet with Hu, after declaring it his top priority beforehand. The Philippines and China have endured months of bruising diplomacy over competing claims to the South China Sea.


“Now is the time for everyone to make efforts to reduce the tension and strengthen the diplomatic ties,” Clinton said.


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