US, Chinese navy chiefs to discuss South China Sea: US official

US, Chinese navy chiefs to discuss South China Sea: US official
The US Navy guided-missile destroyer USS Lassen sails in the Pacific Ocean in a November 2009 photo provided by the US Navy.
PHOTO: Reuters

WASHINGTON - The US chief of naval operations and his Chinese counterpart will hold an hour long video teleconference Thursday, days after Beijing was angered by a US warship's patrol within a 12-mile limit around a man-made Chinese island in the South China Sea, a US official said.

The meeting was initiated by both Admiral John Richardson and Admiral Wu Shengli to discuss recent operations in the South China Sea and naval ties between the two countries, the official said.

It will be the third video teleconference held between a US naval operations chief and the Chinese equivalent.

The USS Lassen's patrol on Tuesday was the most significant US challenge yet to 12-nautical-mile territorial limits China claims around artificial islands it has built in the Spratly archipelago.

Separately, the English-language China Daily newspaper reported that Admiral Harry Harris, commander of US forces in the Pacific, would visit Beijing next week. It cited an unnamed source and gave no further details.

A US embassy spokesman declined to comment.

Harris has been highly critical of China's island building in the Spratlys. Earlier this year he said China was using dredges and bulldozers to create a "great wall of sand" in the South China Sea.

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