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Asian Sea Disputes Simmer at Edgy Vladivostok Summit

As summits go, it wasn’t too bad. The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation meeting in Vladivostok resulted in no agreements about maritime territorial disputes in Asia, no progress on what to do about Syria, and only a few swipes at the EU from Putin. But at least the talks didn’t make any problems worse.

The Chinese president and the Japanese prime minister met for only 15 minutes, according to reports, to discuss Tokyo’s plan to nationalize the Senkaku Islands, which are claimed by both countries. A story in China’s state-run Xinhua newspaper said Hu Jintao was “against” the plan, but further details of the discussion are being withheld.

China and the Philippines similarly made no progress on their territorial disagreements: A planned meeting between Mr. Hu and Philippine President Benigno Aquino failed to even take place.

Putin, who made a theatrical entrance in Vladivostok after migrating with a flock of  endangered cranes in an ultralight hang glider à la Fly Away Home, didn’t pass up the chance to take a few swipes at the EU, whose antitrust investigation of Gazprom he does not like. Putin’s foreign minister met with Hillary Clinton to talk about Syria, but no progress was made and few people expected anything different.

So: no resolutions to the many problems confronting the Asian and Pacific worlds, but no new problems either. That’s good enough.

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