The U.S. should cease sending ships and planes to China’s South China Sea islands, stop showing off its military might and respect China’s core interests, Foreign Minister Wang Yi told Secretary of State John Kerry.
“The world is facing multifaceted challenges and needs multi-party cooperation to handle that,” Wang said in a phone conversation Sunday with Kerry, according to a foreign ministry statement. “While the U.S. is seeking Chinese cooperation, it also should respect China’s core interests and major concerns.”
Wang’s comments follow a report in the Wall Street Journal that a U.S. B-52 bomber mistakenly flew within two nautical miles of Cuarteron Reef in the disputed Spratly Island group in the South China Sea. China dumped tons of dredged sand onto the reef, turning it into an artificial island in the summer of 2014, according to the Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative, a websitedevoted to tracking maritime security issues in Asia.
The U.S. and China have been at loggerheads since October when the U.S. sailed a warship within 12 nautical miles of an island China built on a previously semi-submerged reef. China’s claim to more than 80 percent of the waters is contested by Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan.