NN / BEIJING, China} – Top Chinese and U.S. generals spoke over the phone on May 12 to discuss the increasing tensions between the countries in the South China Sea and sought to resolve the problem.
According to reports, Fang Fenghui, a member of China’s Central Military Commission, said that China and the United States should manage their differences over disputed waters in the South China Sea constructively.
He reportedly told General Joseph Dunford, chairman of the U.S.’s Joint Chiefs of Staff that both countries should “refrain from actions detrimental to the relations between the two countries and the two militaries.”
The discussion follows a sharp verbal exchange between the countries after a U.S. Navy destroyer sailed past China’s largest man-made islands.
The move was to exercise freedom of navigation.
According to reports, two navy fighter jets were deployed one early warning aircraft and three ships to track and warn off the USS William P. Lawrence as it sailed within 12 nautical miles (22 kilometers) of Fiery Cross Reef.
The U.S. defence department said that the operation was conducted to “challenge excessive maritime claims” by China, Taiwan, and Vietnam, who have been trying to restrict navigation rights in South China Sea.
Reports claim that Dunford called for restraint and said that the U.S. was willing to work with China to establish “an effective mechanism on risk control so as to maintain stability in the South China Sea by peaceful means.”
State Department Spokesperson Josh Earnest said that such cruises were routine missions. Earnest said, “We certainly do not want to see the tensions increase, because of the risk that that could pose to the extensive commerce that’s conducted in that region of the world.” READ MORE OF THIS STORY