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Territory dispute key topic during Obama's trip to Asia: aide

Territorial dispute is among key topics U.S. President Barack Obama will discuss with Asian leaders during an upcoming trip to Japan, South Korea, Malaysia and the Philippines, his top foreign policy aide said Friday. Obama is set to go on the trip amid looming concerns among many Asian countries that Russia's annexation of Crimea in March could spur China's maritime activities to claim a number of disputed islands in the East and South China seas.

Territory dispute key topic during Obama's trip to Asia: aide

Territorial dispute is among key topics U.S. President Barack Obama will discuss with Asian leaders during an upcoming trip to Japan, South Korea, Malaysia and the Philippines, his top foreign policy aide said Friday. Obama is set to go on the trip amid looming concerns among many Asian countries that Russia's annexation of Crimea in March could spur China's maritime activities to claim a number of disputed islands in the East and South China seas.

Philippines aims for US defence deal before Obama visit

The Philippines said Friday it hopes to complete a new defence accord with the United States ahead of a visit by President Barack Obama this month, as a territorial dispute with China simmers. The chief Philippine negotiator, defence undersecretary Pio Lorenzo Batino, said in a statement the latest round of discussions about an increased US military presence in the country was "very productive".

Hong Kong stocks end 0.59% lower

Hong Kong shares sank 0.59 percent Monday following heavy losses on Wall Street, despite a healthy US jobs report. The benchmark Hang Seng Index lost 132.93 points to end at 22,377.15 on turnover of HK$57.61 billion (US$7.43 billion) compared with HK$62.04 billion traded Friday. On Friday the US Labor Department said the American economy added 192,000 jobs in March -- just below forecasts of 195,000 -- while the unemployment rate held steady at 6.7 percent.

Biden backs Hong Kong democracy in activist meeting

US Vice President Joe Biden called Friday for democratic rule in Hong Kong as he met with two outspoken activists from the semi-autonomous Chinese metropolis. In an unusually high sign of support, the White House said Biden stopped by talks at the White House with Martin Lee, a founder of the opposition Democratic Party, and Anson Chan, the former number two in the Hong Kong government.

Indonesian maid to return to Hong Kong to help torture probe

An Indonesian maid allegedly tortured by her Hong Kong employer will return to the city next week for a medical examination to help bolster the investigation in the case that sparked angry protests, officials said Friday. Erwiana Sulistyaningsih, 23, was admitted to hospital in Sragen, on Indonesia's main island of Java, in critical condition after returning from Hong Kong in January where she allegedly suffered months of abuse.

Philippines says will exercise self-restraint in disputed seas

MANILA (Reuters) - The Philippines said on Friday it would exercise self-restraint in the disputed South China Sea after China attempted to block a small government boat from delivering supplies to soldiers in Second Thomas Shoal. Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario said Manila would do nothing to raise tension in disputed areas while awaiting a ruling from the international court on its arbitration case against China over its nine-dash-line claims.

Philippines' Aquino firm on UN case amid China warnings

Philippine President Benigno Aquino vowed Monday to push through with a UN appeal to solve its maritime disputes with China, as Beijing warned of consequences. "We are not here to challenge China, to provoke them into any action, but I do believe that they should recognise we also have the right to defend our own interests," he told reporters. "There is a consensus (in the Philippine government) that this is the right way to go."

Two workers killed after 56-storey plunge in Hong Kong

Two construction workers in Hong Kong plunged 56 storeys to their deaths Tuesday, fire authorities said, after the scaffolding they stood upon snapped in two. The accident took place as the pair renovated a residential building in the upscale Mid-Levels neighbourhood of the former British colony, one of the world's most vertical cities known for its strong safety record.

Vietnam to cooperate with Japan over maritime security: president

Amid tensions over territorial disputes in regional waters, Vietnamese President Truong Tan Sang said Friday his country seeks to maintain maritime and aviation safety, as well as peace and security, through cooperation with partners such as Japan and the ASEAN countries.
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