China naval chief warns US of conflict risk in South China Sea

On Tuesday, Washington sent its USS Lassen destroyer -- pictured on March 12, 2015 -- within 12 nautical miles of small artificial islands in the South China Sea claimed by Beijing, sparking fury in ChinaChina’s navy chief warned his US counterpart encounters between their forces could spiral into conflict, state media reported, two days after a US destroyer sailed close to Beijing’s artificial South China Sea islands. The comments by Admiral Wu Shengli, who commands the Chinese navy, were made in a video call with US Admiral John Richardson that lasted about an hour, Beijing’s official Xinhua news agency said Friday. Chinese authorities monitored and warned away the vessel, but did not otherwise intervene, although Beijing later summoned the US ambassador and denounced what it called a threat to its sovereignty.

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