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China denies using virus to grow presence in South China Sea

Added 05-25-20 12:03:01am EST - “A look at recent developments in the South China Sea, where China is pitted against smaller neighbors in multiple territorial disputes over islands, coral reefs and lagoons. The waters are a major shipping route for global commerce…” - Washingtontimes.com

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Posted By TheNewsCommenter: From Washingtontimes.com: “China denies using virus to grow presence in South China Sea”. Below is an excerpt from the article.

BEIJING (AP) - A look at recent developments in the South China Sea, where China is pitted against smaller neighbors in multiple territorial disputes over islands, coral reefs and lagoons. The waters are a major shipping route for global commerce and are rich in fish and possible oil and gas reserves.

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China’s foreign minister is dismissing claims that the country is exploiting the coronavirus outbreak to expand its footprint in the South China Sea, labeling such accusations as “sheer nonsense.”

State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi told reporters at a news conference on Sunday that China was cooperating closely on anti-virus efforts with Southeast Asian countries, several of whom have overlapping territorial claims with China in the strategically vital waterway.

While China has long been stepping up its presence in the region, Wang said other countries, implying the United States and its allies, have been creating instability with military flights and sea patrols.

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