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US, China square off over South China Sea
In Cambodia, Clinton presses Beijing on rules for resource-rich South China Sea
By The Associated Press

PHNOM PENH, Cambodia (AP) The Obama administration is hoping China will accept a code of conduct for resolving territorial disputes in the resource-rich South China Sea, a difficult mediation effort that's often been rebuffed by the communist government.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton is meeting Thursday with China's foreign minister on the sidelines of a Southeast Asian conference.

Governments there are increasingly worried about Beijing's expansive maritime claims, and Chinese tensions with the Philippines and Vietnam have threatened to boil over.

Speaking to foreign ministers gathered in Cambodia, Clinton said the U.S. isn't taking sides. But Washington wants to ensure freedom of navigation and peace.

The sea hosts about a third of the world's cargo traffic, has rich fishing grounds and is believed to store vast oil and gas reserves.

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