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US Pacific Commander to Visit China After US Ship Sails in Disputed Waters

© AP Photo / Eugene Hoshiko, FileGuided missile destroyer USS Lassen arrives at the Shanghai International Passenger Quay in Shanghai, China
Guided missile destroyer USS Lassen arrives at the Shanghai International Passenger Quay in Shanghai, China - Sputnik International
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The commander of the US Pacific Command, Harry Harris, will visit China next week after the incident with a US destroyer entering disputed waters in the South China Sea, local media reported Thursday.

BEIJING (Sputnik) – Earlier this week, the USS Lassen destroyer sailed through the disputed waters in the South China Sea in the first of a series of planned patrols challenging Chinese territorial claims.

Adm. Harry B. Harris, Jr., US Navy Commander, U.S. Pacific Command walks past a photograph showing an island that China is building on the Fiery Cross Reef in the South China Sea - Sputnik International
Pentagon Slams White House For Dragging Feet on South China Sea Patrol

According to the China Daily newspaper, Harris’ visit may be a chance to increase mutual understanding.

Other media reports suggested that the visit would take place on November 2-5, while others claimed that Washington and Beijing would take part in a videoconference.

Guided missile destroyer USS Lassen arrives at the Shanghai International Passenger Quay in Shanghai, China - Sputnik International
US Protects National Security by Sailing Destroyer in S. China Sea
Beijing has been constructing artificial islands on the coral reefs of the Spratly Islands, a group of more than 750 islands and reefs over the past few months, some with defense facilities, claiming sovereignty over the land and the 12 nautical mile zone surrounding the islands.

The United States has warned that it does not recognize the Chinese claims of sovereignty over the man-made islands, and has repeatedly raised concerns over Beijing’s activities in the region.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang said after the incident that China considered the passing of a US warship within 12 nautical miles of the artificially created islands in the Spratly archipelago to be illegal and a violation of China’s sovereignty.

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