President Barack Obama says a controversial verdict by an international court over jurisdiction of a critical area of the South China Sea is "binding" and cannot be ignored.
He made his remark to leaders attending the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) summit in Laos on Thursday.
In July, an international tribunal in The Hague, The Netherlands, ruled in an ongoing dispute between China and the Philippines that China's claims to historic and economic rights in most of the South China Sea have no legal basis.
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Beijing has said it will not accept the ruling by The Hague tribunal. President Obama responded with firm language that the United States will honor the Hague verdict.
"I recognize this raises tensions, but I also look forward to discussing how we can constructively move forward together to lower tensions to promote diplomacy and regional stability," he said.