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Obama Warns Beijing Of 'Consequences' Over South China Sea Actions

What the US has tried to emphasise to China is that if it is working within international rules and international norms, then they should be partners, the US president asserted

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Warning China of "consequences" due to its aggressive behaviour, US President Barack Obama has asked the Communist nation to restrain itself from worrying its neighbours in the disputed South China Sea region.

"Part of what I've talked to communicate to President Xi (Jinping) is that the United States arrives at its power, in part, by restraining itself," Obama said.

"You know, when we bind ourselves to a bunch of international norms and rules, it's not because we have to, it's because we recognise that, over the long-term, building a strong international order is in our interests. And, I think, over the long-term, it will be in China's interests, as well," he told CNN in an interview recorded before he left for China to attend the G20 Summit.

"So where we see them violating international rules and norms, as we have seen in some cases in the South China Sea or in some of their behaviour when it comes to economic policy, we've been very firm. And we've indicated to them that there will be consequences," Obama said.

What the US has tried to emphasise to China is that if it is working within international rules and international norms, then they should be partners, he asserted.

"There is no reason that China and the US cannot be friendly competitors on the commercial side and important partners when it comes to dealing with the many international problems that threaten the two countries," Obama said.

Obama noted Beijing has been run during his lifetime by a Communist party that has been "much more anti-Western" in the past.

"We went through a period over the course of 20 years, in the '90s and on through maybe the onset of my presidency, where, because state-sponsored capitalism and an export-driven model was very successful, China was less interested in making waves," Obama said.

"But, you know, you've got over a billion people, one of the largest economies now in the world. And so it's to be expected that they will want a bigger seat at the table when it comes to international affairs. And what we've said consistently is we welcome the peaceful rise of China, consistent with international norms. That's good for everybody. An impoverished and collapsing China would be dangerous for everybody," Obama said.

An arbitration court in The Hague ruled in July that China had no historic title over the waters of the South China Sea and had infringed on the rights of the Philippines, which brought the case under the U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea.

China rejected the ruling and accused the United States of stirring up trouble in the sea where its territorial claims overlap in parts with Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan.

Rocky Start To Visit
Obama is at his last summit of the world's 20 major economies, and the White House said the Hangzhou visit would likely be his final meeting as president with Xi, with whom he has grappled over hacking incidents, commercial tensions, and differences over human rights.

Obama stressed the need for a "an open trade and investment environment" and "the need for China to protect religious freedom for all of its citizens," the White House said.

China rejects criticism of its human rights record, arguing it has lifted millions out of poverty.

Cyber issues, from concern over hacking and cyber espionage to emerging Chinese policies on information technology that foreign companies fear could limit their operations in the country, have also strained ties.

The visit got off to a rocky start when a Chinese government official angrily scuffled with Obama's top national security adviser, Susan Rice, at the airport, and yelled at a press aide.

Obama and Xi tried to strike a cooperative tone, formally agreeing to join the Paris agreement to curb climate-warming emissions, a deal they worked together to cement.

But then they got down to more thorny issues. For his part, Xi told Obama that China objects to the deployment of a U.S. missile shield in South Korea to help protect against the North Korean nuclear threat.

Xi also told Obama it was the responsibility of China and the United States to carry out a successful G20 summit and to "inject momentum to the global economy while lifting confidence," Xinhua said.

The leaders met for more than four hours, first flanked by their top security and economic advisers, and later talking one-on-one as they took a night-time stroll around the picturesque West Lake, where Xi is hosting the G20 summit.

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south china sea china xi jinping barack obama