China to 'pressure' the US on maritime issues at key talks in Beijing, state-run newspaper says

Earlier this month, Beijing demanded an end to US surveillance near China after two of its fighter jets carried out what the Pentagon said was an "unsafe" intercept of a US military reconnaissance aircraft over the South China Sea.
Earlier this month, Beijing demanded an end to US surveillance near China after two of its fighter jets carried out what the Pentagon said was an "unsafe" intercept of a US military reconnaissance aircraft over the South China Sea.PHOTO: EPA

BEIJING (Reuters) - China will "pressure" the United States on maritime issues at key talks in Beijing next week because of Chinese concerns over the increased US military presence in the disputed South China Sea, a major state-run newspaper said on Tuesday (May 31).

China has been angered by what it views as provocative US military patrols close to islands China controls in the South China Sea. Washington says the patrols are to protect freedom of navigation in the region.

"Beijing will pressure Washington over maritime issues during the upcoming Strategic and Economic Dialogue, as the United States' increasing military presence in the South China Sea is among China's major concerns," the official China Daily said, citing unidentified officials.

China claims most of the South China Sea, through which US$5 trillion in ship-borne trade passes every year. The Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Taiwan and Brunei have overlapping claims.

Earlier this month, Beijing demanded an end to US surveillance near China after two of its fighter jets carried out what the Pentagon said was an "unsafe" intercept of a US military reconnaissance aircraft over the South China Sea.

China will also bring up the issue of self-ruled Taiwan - claimed by Beijing but which elected a pro-independence party to power in January - as well as the situation on the Korean peninsula, the paper added.

"The two countries have differing pursuits on major issues at the strategic level. However, the two still have many common interests," the report said.

"Whether it is on the South China Sea issue or on the Korean Peninsula issue, the two countries have a shared security goal to maintain regional stability," it added.

The newspaper did not elaborate.

China is reclusive North Korea's only major ally but has been angered by Pyongyang's nuclear and missile tests and signed up to tough UN sanctions against the reclusive country.