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Tuesday, November 3, 2015, 21:39

China urges US against further provocation in S China Sea

By Xinhua

BEIJING - China on Tuesday urged the United States against further provocation in relation to the South China Sea.

"We urge the United States to [...] not take any action that threatens China's sovereignty and security," said Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying at a regular press briefing.

Her remarks came in response to a question regarding comments by US Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes on Monday, who said there would be more demonstrations of the US military's commitment to the right to freely navigate in the region.

According to media reports, the US Navy plans to conduct patrols in the South China Sea about twice a quarter to remind China and other countries about US rights under international law, said a US defense official Monday on condition of anonymity.

Hua said China has always respected and safeguarded the freedom of navigation and overflight of various countries in accordance with international law, but strongly opposes any country using this as an excuse to damage China's sovereignty and security.

She reiterated that China is firm in its determination and resolve to maintain its territorial sovereignty, security and legitimate maritime interests.

"We will resolutely respond to deliberate provocation from any country," said the spokesperson, adding that China will closely monitor the situation.

Also on Tuesday, US Pacific Command commander Admiral Harry Harris said freedom of navigation operations by the United States should not be viewed as a threat.

"We've been conducting freedom of navigation operations all over the world for decades, so no one should be surprised by them," Harris said at a Beijing university, in comments released by the US military.

Admiral Harris made the comments hours after the US Navy announced plans in Washington to conduct patrols within 12 nautical miles of Chinese islands in the South China Sea about twice a quarter, a US defense official said on Monday.

Yi Xiaoguang, deputy chief of the general staff of the Chinese People's Liberation Army, on Monday urged the US "not to do things that undermine the big picture of the China-US relationship" when he addressed the recent US navy entry into waters close to a Chinese island in the South China Sea.

The US warship USS Lassen entered waters near Zhubi Reef last week, which is part of China's Nansha Islands in the South China Sea, without the permission of the Chinese government.

In response, China has officially lodged a strong protest to the US government, and expressed strong discontent and resolute opposition through various channels.

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