HO CHI MINH CITY, Vietnam —
The Obama administration has pledged to do so as part of its self-described "pivot to Asia," with calls for a binding code of conduct on the high seas to ease tensions between China and its smaller neighbors over disputed territory.
China has reacted angrily to the U.S. approach. Earlier this month, over strenuous objections from Washington, Beijing announced a new air defense zone over parts of the East China Sea, where it has competing claims with Japan. Chinese officials have since said they might declare a similar zone in the South China Sea.
From Vietnam, Kerry will travel to the Philippines, which has its own maritime disputes with China.