US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has called for a stronger partnership between the United States and ASEAN nations to counter China's moves in the South China Sea.
Pompeo on Thursday joined a teleconference with the foreign ministers of the 10 ASEAN nations.
In the meeting, Pompeo reiterated that the US regards China's claims to resources across most of the South China Sea as completely unlawful.
He said China doesn't respect the fundamental democratic values such as independence, sovereignty and equality that are enshrined in the ASEAN Charter.
Pompeo also said, "Don't let the Chinese Communist Party walk over us and our people" and promised that the United States will help ASEAN nations.
The US government is taking an increasingly tough approach against China's maritime activities.
Last month, it imposed sanctions on Chinese firms for their involvement in the construction of artificial islands in the South China Sea.
At the East Asia Summit Foreign Ministers' meeting on Wednesday, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi accused the United States of becoming the most dangerous factor damaging peace in the South China Sea.