JIM GOMEZ and GRANT PECK
NONTHABURI, Thailand (AP) — The rivalry between the United States and China over influence in the Asia-Pacific region was on show Monday as the two superpowers traded barbs over freedom of navigation in the region's seas.
The war of words took place at the annual summit of leaders of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, hosted this year by Thailand. The meeting allows Southeast Asian leaders to deal as a bloc with the world's major powers, leveraging their influence in making security and trade arrangements.
At the same time, the meeting serves to highlight the rivalry between the U.S. and China, which both seek to strengthen their clout in the geopolitically important region.
On Friday the two countries repeated familiar charges —