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Thursday, October 8, 2015, 18:30

China concerned over alleged US sea plan

By Agencies

BEIJING — Beijing is expressing serious concern about a reported US plan to challenge China's South China Sea territorial claims by sailing Navy ships near its newly built artificial islands.

The United States is expected to sail warships close to China's artificial islands in the South China Sea within the next two weeks to signal it does not recognize Chinese territorial claims over the area, media reports said.

The ships will sail inside the 12-nautical mile (21-kilometer) territorial limit surrounding one of the man-made structures, the Financial Times and US newspaper Navy Times both cited US officials as reporting.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying told a regular news briefing on Thursday that China was paying attention to such reports, and that it and the United States have maintained "extremely thorough communication" on the South China Sea issue.

"I believe the US side is extremely clear about China's relevant principled stance," she said. "We hope the US side can objectively and fairly view the current situation in the South China Sea, and with China, genuinely play a constructive role in safeguarding peace and stability in the South China Sea."

The White House declined to comment on potential classified naval operations.

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