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US Navy admiral says sailing past Chinese isles not a threat

/ 01:01 PM November 03, 2015
Harry Harris

In this Sept. 17, 2015 file photo, Adm. Harry B. Harris, Jr. of US Navy Commander, US Pacific Command walks past a photograph showing an island that China is building on the Fiery Cross Reef in the South China Sea, as the prepares to testify on Capitol Hill in Washington. As expectations grow that the US Navy will directly challenge Beijing’s South China Sea claims, China is engaging in some serious image-building for its own military by hosting two international security forums beginning Friday, Oct. 16, 2015. AP FILE PHOTO

BEIJING — The head of the US Pacific military forces says the US naval challenge last week to China’s sovereignty claims in the South China Sea was not designed as a military threat.

Adm. Harry B. Harris Jr. spoke Tuesday to Stanford University students studying at Peking University during his first visit to the Chinese capital as commander of US Pacific Command.

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READ: US: South China Sea patrols will continue | Aquino: US patrols in South China Sea a ‘balancing of power’

Harris has been outspoken in his criticism of China’s land reclamation in the South China Sea. In March, he said China is “creating a great wall of sand” that is causing serious concern about militarizing reefs and artificial islands in an area of competing territorial claims by several nations.

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But in his remarks Tuesday, he was mostly upbeat in his assessment of prospects for improving relations with China.

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TAGS: China, Maritime Dispute, Military, patrols, sailing, South China Sea, Territory, US, US Pacific Command
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