Navy commander: South China Sea not a US-versus-China battle

February 23, 2016 9:32 AM

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SYDNEY — The commander of the U.S. Navy’s 7th Fleet said Monday that he is wary of the situation in the South China Sea being painted as a battle between the United States and China, but added the presence of a Chinese missile system on a disputed island will not stop the U.S. military from flying over the region.

U.S. Navy Vice Adm. Joseph Aucoin’s comments come a week after it was revealed that Beijing had deployed surface-to-air missiles on an island in the fiercely contested region. The U.S. said the presence of missiles provided increasing evidence of militarization of the area by China.

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