China says it’s ready if US ‘stirs up any conflict’ in South China Sea

CNBC

Chinese dredging vessels are purportedly seen in the waters around Mischief Reef in the disputed Spratly Islands in the South China Sea, May 21, 2015.  REUTERS/U.S. Navy

BEIJING — China‘s attempts to claim a nearly 1.4-million-square-mile swathe of open ocean are without precedent and probably without legal merit, but Beijing continues to assert its right to the economically critical zone — and increasingly puts its claims in military terms.

Speaking to a small group of reporters in Beijing on Thursday, a high-ranking Chinese official made his warning clear: The United States should not provoke China in the South China Sea without expecting retaliation.

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