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 U.S. military presence in the disputed South China Sea, a major state-run newspaper said on Tuesday.
China has been angered by what it views as provocative U.S. 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 $5 trillion (3.4 trillion pounds) 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 U.S. surveillance near China after two of its fighter jets carried out what the Pentagon said was an “unsafe” intercept of a U.S. military reconnaissance aircraft over the South China Sea.