U.S., Chinese generals discuss tensions in South China Sea

Chinese dredging vessels are purportedly seen in the waters around Mischief Reef in the disputed Spratly Islands in this still image from video taken by a P-8A Poseidon surveillance aircraft provided by the United States Navy May 21, 2015. REUTERS/U.S. Navy/Handout via Reuters ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS PICTURE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. REUTERS IS UNABLE TO INDEPENDENTLY VERIFY THE AUTHENTICITY, CONTENT, LOCATION OR DATE OF THIS IMAGE. THIS PICTURE IS DISTRIBUTED EXACTLY AS RECEIVED BY REUTERS, AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS. EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS

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

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About Cholo Brooks 14332 Articles
Joel Cholo Brooks is a Liberian journalist who previously worked for several international news outlets including the BBC African Service. He is the CEO of the Global News Network which publishes two local weeklies, The Star and The GNN-Liberia Newspapers. He is a member of the Press Union Of Liberia (PUL) since 1986, and several other international organizations of journalists, and is currently contributing to the South Africa Broadcasting Corporation as Liberia Correspondent.