China warned the United States not to get involved in South China Sea territorial disputes on Tuesday as U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton headed to Beijing pledging to pass on a strong message on the need to calm regional tension.
The last time Clinton visited the Chinese capital, plans to highlight improving U.S.-China ties were derailed by a blind Chinese dissident whose dramatic flight to the U.S. embassy exposed the deeply uneasy relationship.
The irritants this time are disputes over tiny islets and craggy outcrops in oil- and gas-rich areas of the South and East China Seas that have set China against U.S. regional allies such as the Philippines and Taiwan.
As Clinton travelled back to Beijing on Tuesday, U.S. officials say the message is once again one of cooperation and partnership – and an important chance to compare notes during a year of political transition.
But the unease…
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