Clinton Heads For APEC Summit in Russia

Posted September 6th, 2012 at 7:55 pm (UTC-5)
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U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has wrapped up her six-nation tour of Asia and is heading for a meeting of Asia-Pacific nations in Vladivostok, Russia.

A territorial dispute in the South China Sea is high on the agenda at the gathering of officials and economic leaders from more than 20 nations. China claims sovereignty over a group of uninhabited islands and surrounding waters in a resource-rich maritime region, where Vietnam, the Philippines, Brunei, Malaysia and Taiwan have conflicting claims.

While in Russia, Clinton is expected to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin to discuss views on how to stop bloodshed in Syria where government forces are waging an 18-month battle against rebels. U.S. wants the ouster of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, while Russia opposes any foreign intervention.

Clinton arrives to Russia from Brunei, where she held talks with Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah Thursday.

Earlier Thursday, Clinton made a brief stop in East Timor, where she said her visit was a “clear, unmistakable sign” that the U.S. will remain a Pacific power.

Following meetings with Timorese officials, she praised Asia's newest country, which gained independence from Indonesia only a decade ago, for holding fair elections earlier this year. She said democracy could help it achieve further stability.

The South China Sea conflict dominated her talks with Chinese officials in Beijing earlier this week. Chinese leaders insisted that the disputes should be resolved through individual talks among rival claimants.