02:30 GMT +324 January 2020
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    The United States should not aggravate territorial disputes in the South China Sea and adhere to its commitment to maintain neutrality, as well as to respect the efforts of the countries in the region to maintain peace and stability, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said Wednesday.

    BEIJING (Sputnik) — Earlier in the day, US President Barack Obama speaking on the sidelines of the APEC CEO summit in the Philippines urged China to halt construction activities on the disputed Spratly Islands in the South China Sea

    "US should stop fueling the problem of the South China Sea, stop escalating tensions and complicating the current disputes in the South China Sea," Hong Lei said.

    China has been constructing artificial bases on top of Spratly Islands coral reef habitats over the past year. The archipelago encompasses over 750 islands and reefs. Beijing claims sovereignty over all of the Spratlys and a 12-nautical-mile zone surrounding the islands.

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


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