Senate deplores China's use of force at sea

June 27, 2011 - 7:14 PM

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Senate is deploring what it calls China's "use of force" in the South China Sea and is urging peaceful resolution of territorial disputes there.

The resolution was adopted Monday in response to recent incidents involving Chinese vessels and those of the Philippines and Vietnam, which also claim disputed islands in the potentially resource-rich waters.

Democratic Sen. Jim Webb of Virginia said Southeast Asian countries are worried about what he termed China's "pattern of intimidation." He says the U.S. has a strategic interest in facilitating multilateral negotiations to settle the disputes.

Webb led a bipartisan group of four senators who introduced the resolution.

The Obama administration supports multilateral negotiations but has been less strident in confronting China on the issue.