China warns against intervention as Clinton visits Asia
BEIJING (AFP) - China on Monday warned the United States against taking sides in territorial disputes, as it prepared for a visit by US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
Mrs Clinton is currently on a tour of the Asia Pacific region during which she is expected to reaffirm calls for freedom of navigation in the South China Sea, where South-east Asian nations have accused Beijing of growing assertiveness.
The United States is reinforcing its military presence in the Pacific, a move that analysts say is aimed at countering China's growing power in the region, and which has sparked concern in Beijing.
"We hope the US side will uphold the wider interests of peace and stability and honour its commitments of not taking sides," said foreign ministry spokesman Hong Lei at a briefing. "Countries outside this region should respect the choice of countries directly concerned with this issue and should earnestly honour their commitment of not taking sides in this dispute."