At first, China’s Premier Wen Jiabao was reluctant to discuss its growing influence in the Asia-Pacific region and its full claims of whatever lies within the South China sea, while four Southeast Asian countries declares ownership of parts of it, but when US President Obama raised the subject during the East Asia Summit on the Indonesian resort of Bali, Wen agreed to have a sideline talk with the US leader in a ‘robust conversation’ seen as a diplomatic victory for Obama at the end of his Pacific tour, abs-cbn news said.
Wen said "I don't want to discuss this issue at the summit, however, leaders of some countries mentioned China on the issue. It's impolite not to make a return for what one receives."
At the summit, Obama announced a new diplomatic campaign to assert itself as a ‘Pacific power,’ strengthening military cooperation with Southeast Asian nations, including stationing of troops in Australia, while Wen warned against interference by "external forces" in the maritime wrangle, which it saw as an intrusion to its sphere of influence in the region.
But after a week of sharp exchanges, a hastily arranged talk between the two leaders produced a discussion termed as ‘constructive.’
A US administration official said Obama was ‘encouraged’ by the talks and hoped to foster freedom of navigation, free flow of commerce and peaceful resolution of disputes with China.