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Recent developments on the South China Sea

China is pitted against smaller neighbors in multiple disputes over Admiral John M. RichardsonAdmiral John M. Richardsonislands, coral reefs and lagoons in waters crucial for global commerce and rich in fish and potential oil and gas reserves.

Beijing, Jan.20.– The U.S. Navy's top officer says he urged China to follow international rules at sea to avoid confrontations and insisted that ships should be able to pass safely though the South China Sea and Taiwan Strait.

Chief of U.S. Naval Operations Adm. John Richardson told reporters in Tokyo that U.S. Navy ships will continue to operate freely in international waters. He said that includes U.S. aircraft carriers passing through the Taiwan Strait.

Richardson, who held meetings in China last week, said the U.S. considers the Taiwan Strait to be international waters.

"We don't see any kind of limitation on whatever type of ship could pass through those waters," he said.

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