Clinton Urging ASEAN Unity on South China Sea Plan

Posted September 3rd, 2012 at 1:00 am (UTC-5)
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U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton travels to Indonesia Monday, where she will show support for a regional plan to resolve territorial disputes with China over the South China Sea.

An official traveling with the secretary says she wants to see unity among the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations, which has long worked to create a code of conduct for settling territorial claims with China.

The State Department has encouraged all parties with claims to islands in the resource-rich area to resolve the matter, but says it does not take sides in the matter.

Clinton is scheduled to meet with Indonesian leaders, including the country's foreign minister, to discuss security, economic and technology issues.

A U.S. official says Clinton will also ask how Indonesia plans to deal with recent “disturbing” incidents of violence against religious minorities.

U.S.-based Human Rights Watch issued a statement Sunday urging Clinton to pressure the Indonesian government. The group says Indonesian authorities have failed to address mob violence by militant Islamist groups, and that “oppressive laws and policies against religious minorities fuel violence and discrimination.”

Indonesia is home to the world's largest Muslim population.

Clinton travels to China Tuesday for two days of talks with senior Chinese leaders.