Susan Rice
US National Security Advisor Susan Rice discusses President Barack Obama’s goals during upcoming Asia summits at a White House briefing on November 12, 2015 ©Saul Loeb (AFP)

South China Sea clashes will be a central issue in Obama’s Philippine visit to meet with Asian leaders next week, the White House said Thursday.

Territorial claims in the in the South China Sea — which put the United States in a direct dispute with china would feature prominently during a trip to the Philippines and Malaysia.

“This will be a central issue of discussion both at the East Asia Summit as well as at the ASEAN-US Summit (both in Kuala Lumpur) and the other engagements that we have throughout our visit to Asia,” National Security Advisor Susan Rice said.

China’s move to claim and build artificial islands in the spratlys prompted the US to send in missile destroyer USS Lassen to one of the artificial island that China has built. And now a US B-52 bomber flew above China’s artificial islands that causes anger to Chinese officials.

During Obama’s trip to the Philippines, he will tour a maritime facility formed to highlight US commitment to Philippine maritime security.

Recently, the Philippines have won the right for an international panel to hear several territorial feud with China. So far, Beijing has ignored the proceedings.

When asked  to why Obama was willing to go to such a variety of Asia summits in short request, Obama’s senior foreign policy aide Ben Rhodes said “when we’re not at the table, we’re on the menu.”