From left, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Chinese State Councilor and Defense Minister General Wei Fengheat, Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis, and Chinese Politburo Member Yang Jiechi shake hands at the conclusion of a news conference at the State Department in Washington, Friday, Nov. 9, 2018. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

The Latest: China scolds US over presence in South China Sea

November 09, 2018 - 12:56 pm

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on U.S.-China talks involving top diplomats and defense chiefs (all times local):

1:50 p.m.

China is telling the U.S. to stop sending American ships and military aircraft close to islands that Beijing claims in the South China Sea.

Top Chinese diplomat Yang Jiechi (YAHNG jee-uh-CHERR) is making his government's position clear after the latest round of U.S.-China security talks in Washington.

The Trump administration has criticized China's militarization of the South China Sea, which is a vital waterway for world trade.

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis says the U.S. has told China that that the American military will "fly, sail and operate wherever international law allows."

In late September, U.S. and Chinese vessels nearly collided off near a disputed reef.

Despite the officials' frank airing of their differences, both sides are stressing the need to lower tensions that have flared amid a trade dispute between the world's two largest economies.

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