Asia leaders tiptoe around South China Sea tensions

September 8, 2016 8:39 AM

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VIENTIANE Asian leaders played down tensions over the South China Sea in a carefully worded summit statement on Thursday, but even before it was issued Beijing voiced frustration with countries outside the region "interfering" in tussles over the strategic waterway.

The heads of 10 Southeast Asian nations, as well as U.S. President Barack Obama and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang among six other leaders, "reaffirmed the importance of maintaining peace, stability, security and freedom of navigation in and over-flight in the South China Sea".

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