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Beijing's S China Sea Pursuit Could 'Destabilize' Region - US Navy Nominee

Sputnik News

19:55 30.07.2015(updated 19:56 30.07.2015)

John Richardson said that Beijing's activity in the South China Sea had a potential to destabilize the region.

WASHINGTON (Sputnik) – Beijing's actions in the South China Sea and its pursuit of the disputed Spratly Islands can potentially destabilize the situation in Asia, Chief of Naval Operations Nominee John Richardson said during his confirmation hearing in the US Senate on Thursday.

"They [China] have got a vastly growing nation, their activity in the South China Sea and land reclamation certainly has a potential to destabilize that region,' Richardson said.

The nominee added that, while growing in every dimension, many of Chinese actions have "adversarial nature."

The United States and China have been in a standoff over Beijing's land reclamation projects in the Spratly Islands.

During Thursday's hearing, US Senator John McCain, chairman of the Armed Services Committee, warned of China's "ambitious Naval buildup" that seeks to "project power and influence in key waterways of the Asia Pacific and beyond."

'While some would want rather avoid a discussion of our competition with China, this relationship will be a serious challenge for our Navy," McCain stated.

In recent weeks, China began its 10-day military exercises in the waters of the South China Sea, amid the increased tension in the area, while Beijing's Maritime Safety Administration reported as saying by Chinese media that no vessels would be allowed to enter the designated maritime area.

Relations between Beijing and Tokyo, a US ally, have started to deteriorate in recent years over a heated territorial dispute around the Spratly Islands. Both countries have claimed the archipelagos, which are said to hold significant oil and gas reserves.


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