In the South China Sea, the United States continues to call on all claimants to exercise restraint as they publicly pledged in 2002, and to seek peaceful means to resolve these incidents. In that regard, we support the recent agreement between China and ASEAN to establish crisis hotlines to help manage maritime incidents. The U.S. also welcomes efforts to start talks on a Code of Conduct for the South China Sea. We encourage claimants to explore all peaceful means of settling their territorial disputes and the use of the dispute adjudication resolution mechanisms provided by the Law of the Sea Convention. Such efforts should not hinder progress towards developing a binding Code of Conduct.
U.S. Secretary of Defence, Shangri-La Dialogue, 1 June 2013