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Published: Saturday June 21, 2014 MYT 12:30:04 AM
Updated: Saturday June 21, 2014 MYT 12:31:12 AM

Obama urges China, neighbours to avoid escalating maritime dispute

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President Barack Obama on Friday urged China and its neighbours to peacefully resolve a dispute over oil drilling in the South China Sea and avoid escalating tensions.

"It is important for us to be able to resolve disputes like maritime disputes in accordance with international law, and encourage all parties concerned to maintain a legal framework for resolving issues, as opposed to possible escalation that could have an impact on navigation and commerce," Obama told reporters.

Obama made his comments after an Oval Office meeting with New Zealand Prime Minister John Key, who expressed similar concerns.

(Reporting by Roberta Rampton; Editing by Doina Chiacu)

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