South China Sea casts shadow over opening of key US-China talks

China's President Xi Jinping shakes hands with US Secretary of State John Kerry (R) as US Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew looks on during the opening session of the US - China Strategic and Economic Dialogues, in Beijing, on June 6, 2016President Xi Jinping said China and the US needed to trust each other more as both sides sought to minimise tensions over the South China Sea at the opening Monday of key annual talks in Beijing. China claims nearly all of the strategically vital sea despite competing claims by several Southeast Asian neighbours, and has rapidly built artificial islands suitable for military use. Washington has responded by sending warships close to Chinese claimed reefs, angering Beijing.

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