Territorial disputes involving China, human rights, trade pact on spotlight at SE Asian summit

Disputes over South China Sea territories are expected to overshadow a summit of Southeast Asian countries that has opened, with host Cambodia seeking damage control after the previous regional meeting it hosted collapsed over how to handle the territorial conflicts involving China.

President Barack Obama will join the summit on Tuesday in his first appearance on the world diplomatic stage since his re-election.

Foreign ministers of the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations, or ASEAN, met at a convention center in the Cambodian capital of Phnom Penh. About 10,000 troops and police were deployed to guard the biggest international gathering the country has hosted in recent history.

ASEAN heads of state will gather Sunday before meeting with dialogue counterparts from eight countries, including China and the United States.