China urges U.S. to stay out of sea talks

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - INTERNATIONAL -

The United States shouldn’t ob­struct ef­forts by China and its neigh­bors to agree on a code of con­duct in the dis­puted South China Sea, China’s am­bas­sador said Mon­day as Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump pre­pared for his first of­fi­cial visit to Asia.

Am­bas­sador Cui Tiankai said the U.S. has no ter­ri­to­rial claim in those wa­ters and should let coun­tries in the re­gion man­age their dis­putes in a “friendly and ef­fec­tive way.”

Bei­jing’s is­land-build­ing in the South China Sea has drawn crit­i­cism from Wash­ing­ton, which says it has a na­tional in­ter­est in free­dom of nav­i­ga­tion in sea lanes crit­i­cal for world trade. Sec­re­tary of State Rex Tiller­son this month said China’s “provoca­tive ac­tions” chal­lenge in­ter­na­tional law and norms.

Cui im­plied that Wash­ing­ton was mak­ing ne­go­ti­a­tions more dif­fi­cult.

“I think it would cer­tainly be bet­ter if oth­ers in­clud­ing the United States would not try to in­ter­fere in this con­struc­tive process, would not try to cre­ate ob­sta­cles to early agree­ment on the [code of con­duct],” he said at the Chi­nese Em­bassy in Wash­ing­ton.

AP/FIRDIA LISNAWATI

Ba­li­nese re­li­gious devo­tees visit the Be­sakih tem­ple, with Mount Agung vol­cano in the back­ground, in Karangasem, Bali, In­done­sia, on Mon­day. In­done­sia au­thor­i­ties low­ered the alert sta­tus for vol­cano from the high­est level on Sun­day, af­ter a sig­nif­i­cant de­crease in ac­tiv­ity in re­cent days.

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