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China condemns U.S. Senate over sea dispute resolution

An aerial photo shows a Chinese marine surveillance ship Haijian No. 66 (C) cruising next to Japan Coast Guard patrol ships in the East Chin
An aerial photo shows a Chinese marine surveillance ship Haijian No. 66 (C) cruising next to Japan Coast Guard patrol ships in the East Chin

BEIJING (Reuters) - China said on Thursday it had lodged a formal complaint with the United States after the U.S. Senate passed a resolution expressing concern about Chinese actions in the disputed East and South China Seas.

The U.S. resolution, passed on Monday, listed several examples of worrying Chinese behavior, including China's issuing of an official map defining the contested South China Sea as within its national border and of Chinese surveillance ships entering waters disputed with Japan in the East China Sea.

China has repeatedly urged the United States not to get involved in either dispute.

"The above resolution proposed by a minority of senators took heed of neither history nor facts, unjustifiably blaming China and sending the wrong message," China's Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

"China expresses its strong opposition, and has already made stern representations with the U.S. side. We urge the relevant senators to respect the facts and correct their mistakes in order to avoid further complicating the issue and the regional situation," it added.

Territorial claims by Japan and China over uninhabited islets and the resource-rich waters in the East China Sea, as well as China's claims over the South China Sea, rank as some of Asia's biggest security risks.

Chinese President Xi Jinping told his Politburo on Wednesday the country wanted to resolve its maritime territorial disputes peacefully and through talks, but would not compromise on sovereignty and had to step up its defensive capabilities.

Tension over the East China Sea has escalated this year, with China and Japan scrambling fighter jets and ordering patrol ships to shadow each other, raising fear that a miscalculation could lead to a broader clash.

The Philippines and Vietnam have also accused Beijing of becoming more aggressive in their disputes with China in the strategically located and energy-rich South China Sea.

(Reporting by Ben Blanchard)

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