09:49 GMT28 March 2020
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    US-Chinese Standoff in South China Sea (51)
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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.

    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.

    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.

    Topic:
    US-Chinese Standoff in South China Sea (51)

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