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Thursday, February 25, 2016, 12:02

US plans more patrols in South China Sea

By Agencies

US plans more patrols in South China Sea
US National Security Advisor Susan Rice (left) is greeted by Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi at the Olive Hall before a meeting at the Foreign Ministry in Beijing on Sept 9, 2014. (AFP PHOTO / POOL / Andy Wong)

WASHINGTON - The United States said it will increase "freedom-of-navigation operations" in the South China Sea at a time when Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi is visiting Washington at the invitation of US Secretary of State John Kerry.

"We will be doing them more, and we'll be doing them with greater complexity in the future and ... we'll fly, sail and operate wherever international law allows," Admiral Harry Harris, head of the US Navy's Pacific Command, told a hearing of the House of Representatives Armed Services Committee on Wednesday.

Harris alleged China was "changing the operational landscape" in the South China Sea by deploying missiles and radar.

China says its military facilities in the South China Sea are "legal and appropriate," and on Tuesday, in an apparent reference to US patrols, Wang said Beijing hoped not to see more close-up reconnaissance, or the dispatch of missile destroyers or strategic bombers.

Wang met with US national security adviser Susan Rice on Wednesday and they "candidly discussed" maritime issues, the White House said in a statement.

Xinhua said of the meeting that both countries believed all sides should work hard to maintain the peace and stability of the South China Sea.

"The South China Sea issue should be resolved via dialogue and peaceful means," the Xinhua report reads.

Wang is visiting the US from Tuesday to Thursday. The trip comes as recent Chinese military deployments on some of its islands are making headlines in international media.

In Beijing, Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying urged the media on Wednesday not to "selectively pump up or ignore things" when reporting on the issue.

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