Apec summit: Clinton warns Asia leaders over disputes

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton during a press conference in Vladivostok on 9 September 2012
Image caption Mrs Clinton urged Asia, "the world's economic engine", to reduce tensions over territorial disputes

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has urged Asian countries not to let their territorial disputes disrupt co-operation in a region she called the "engine" of the global economy.

She urged China and its neighbours to resolve tensions over disputed islands in the East China and South China seas.

She was speaking at the end of the Asia-Pacific regional summit in Vladivostok, Russia.

US officials say they would welcome a more active Russian role in the region.

"Now is the time for everyone to make efforts to reduce the tension and strengthen the diplomatic involvement," Mrs Clinton said.

"This region of the world is the economic engine in what is still a fragile global economy.

"It's not in the interest of the Asian countries, it's certainly not in the interest of the United States or the rest of the world, to raise doubts and uncertainties about the stability and peace in the region."

On Saturday, Chinese President Hu Jintao told Japanese PM Yoshihiko Noda that a serious situation had developed over the contested Diaoyu islands, called Senkaku in Japan, and that the Japanese should not make a wrong decision.

The two leaders did not hold customary talks on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation (Apec) summit because of the row.

Japan administers the islands, but China says the island group has been part of Chinese territory since ancient times.

Tokyo is also involved in a separate dispute with Seoul over islands known as Dokdo in South Korea and Takeshima in Japan.

Russian President Vladimir Putin, who is hosting the summit, has expressed concern about the world economy, and particularly Europe's debt crisis.

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