Chinese President Xi Jinping delivers his speech on "Forging A Strong Partnership To Enhance Prosperity Of Asia" at the 36th Singapore Lecture on Saturday, Nov. 7, 2015, in Singapore. (AP Photo/Wong Maye-E)
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China's President Xi Jinping on Saturday promised to safeguard freedom of navigation in the South China Sea, where tensions have flared over overlapping claims and the U.S. Navy's moves to challenge Beijing's massive island building.Speaking at the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies at the National University of Singapore, Xi said that there has never been any problem with freedom of navigation and overflight and "nor will there ever be in the future". He said that China needs unimpeded passage through the waters more than anyone else. China criticized last week's patrol of the USS Lassen, a guided-missile destroyer, within the 12-nautical-mile (22-kilometer) territorial limit of Subi Reef, one of the South China Sea features that have been claimed, expanded and reinforced by China over objections of other claimants, particularly the Philippines.
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