Asian nations feud over territorial disputes in South China Sea

Philippine President Benigno Aquino arrives at the 21st ASEAN Summit for the signing ceremony of the Phnom Penh statement on the adoption of the ASEAN Human Rights Declaration during the 21st ASEAN Summit in Phnom Penh on Nov 18, 2012. -- PHOTO: AFP

PHNOM PENH (AFP) - Asian leaders feuded on Monday over how to handle tense maritime territorial disputes with China, overshadowing talks at a regional summit meant to strengthen trade and political ties.

The leaders of the 10-member Asean had hoped to present a united front on the South China Sea row as they hosted Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao and United States (US) President Barack Obama for annual talks.

But that effort broke down just before the Asean leaders met Mr Wen, amid divisions between Chinese ally Cambodia and the Philippines.

Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda also weighed into the debate at the 18-nation East Asia Summit (EAS), warning the South China Sea was of concern to the international community and could impact peace and stability in the region.