17:16 GMT +310 December 2019
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    A U.S. fighter jet on the U.S. aircraft carrier in South China Sea

    Beijing Calls On Washington to 'Stop Flexing Muscles' in South China Sea

    © AP Photo / Bullit Marquez
    Asia & Pacific
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    Earlier in November, the US guided-missile cruiser Chancellorsville sailed through the Taiwan Strait between China and the island of Taiwan, with the transit being the ninth made by US Navy this year.

    On Monday's defence talks in Bangkok, Chinese Defence Minister Wei Fenghe urged the US Defence Secretary Mark Esper to "stop flexing its muscles" in the South China Sea and to avoid adding "new uncertainties" over Taiwan, underlining tensions between the world's two most powerful nations, Reuters reported.

    According to Chinese Defence Ministry spokesman Wu Qian, the minister has called on his US counterparts to "stop flexing muscles in the South China Sea and to not provoke and escalate tensions in the South China Sea".

    No response has so far been received from the United States, though they have blamed Beijing for militarizing the South China Sea.

    On Sunday, Mark Esper stated that the eastern Asian power was "increasingly resorting to coercion and intimidation to advance its strategic objectives" in the region.

    The United States also accuses China of expanding its military reach in the region, including via the construction of military installations on artificial islands. China insists that its installations in the South China Sea serve defensive purposes and are being used primarily for scientific research and maritime safety programmes.

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