President Barack Obama, who arrived in China for the G-20 summit Saturday, plans to tell Beijing that “there will be consequences” for its territorial moves in contested areas of the South China Sea, he said in an exclusive interview with CNN to be aired Sunday.
“If you sign a treaty that calls for international arbitration around maritime issues, the fact that you’re bigger than the Philippines or Vietnam or other countries… is not a reason for you to go around and flex your muscles. You’ve got to abide by international law,” Obama said.
Obama said China needs to be “responsible,” and that he plans to tell President Xi Jinping that he should look to the U.S. as an example of a country that maintains its power, in part, by restraining itself.
“When we bind ourselves to a bunch of international norms and rules it’s not because we have to, it’s because we recognize that over the long term, building a strong international order is in our interests,” he said.
Obama also mentioned fair and free trade and economic policies as areas in which China must improve.
China was angered by a July decision by The Hague-based Permanent Court of Arbitration dismissing Beijing’s territorial claims in the South China Sea.