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A top United States military official is warning there is a potential for a serious conflict in the South China Sea. Competing territorial claims stretch relations between China, the Philippines and Vietnam. During his visit to China, Admiral Mike Mullen said the US will remain in the region for the long term.
Relations between China, the Philippines and Vietnam are tense, as territorial disputes play out over the South China Sea—rich in resources.
United States Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Mike Mullen, is on a four-day visit in China. On Sunday, he expressed concern the standoff could intensify.
[Admiral Mike Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff]:
"The United States' expectation that these be worked out by countries from the standpoint of either multilaterally or bilaterally specifically but done so in a responsible way. So that a specific incident does not rise to a level of miscalculation which could become very dangerous and get out of control."
Admiral Mullen said the United States would not quit the region.
Six countries have overlapping claims over the South China Sea, but China's is by far the biggest. The Chinese regime has insisted on handling the disputes one-on-one rather than multilaterally. Some critics described it as a "divide and conquer" strategy.
Speaking to students at China's elite Renmin University, Admiral Mullen said China and the United States shared security roles in the region, but called for greater responsibility, cooperation and transparency from the Chinese military.