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The Chinese military exercises are being conducted not far from joint U.S.-Japan military exercises that ended last week and involved some 47,000 personnel near the Senkaku Islands, which are claimed by China near Okinawa. China calls the islands the Diayoutao.
Beijing is opposing ASEAN’s efforts to reach a binding agreement on a code of conduct in the South China Sea, where China recently claimed up to 70 percent of the international waters as its maritime territory.
Ben Rhodes, deputy White House national security adviser, said the sea dispute should be settled peacefully. The issue was to be raised in a meeting between President Obama and outgoing Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao, Mr. Rhodes said.
He said the disputes such as those regarding the South China Sea “need to be discussed in a multilateral context so that we can reaffirm the principles of maritime security that can guide the resolution to something like the South China Sea.”
“The U.S. believes that any solution has to be consistent with international law, has to preserve the free flow of commerce that is important not just to the countries in this region, but to the world,” Mr. Rhodes told reporters.
“The U.S. is not a claimant in the South China Sea, but we have significant interest there, given its role in the global economy.”
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About the Author
Bill Gertz is a national security columnist for The Washington Times and senior editor at The Washington Free Beacon (www.freebeacon.com). He has been with The Times since 1985.
He is the author of six books, four of them national best-sellers. His latest book, “The Failure Factory,” on government bureaucracy and national security, was published in September 2008.
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