The US intelligence chief accuses China of expanding its outposts in the South China Sea in an “aggressive” effort to exert sovereignty.
Speaking at a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on Thursday, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper voiced concern over land reclamation activities in the South China Sea that could further escalate tensions between China and its neighbors over disputed islands, The Associated Press reports.
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“Although China is looking for stable ties with the United States it’s more willing to accept bilateral and regional tensions in pursuit of its interests, particularly on maritime sovereignty issues,” Clapper said.
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Senator John McCain, Republican of Arizona and the committee’s chairman, displayed satellite imagery showing expansion of the Chinese occupation of Gaven Reef in the Spratly Islands, where China has had a troop and supply garrison since 2003.