In this Jan. 6, 2016 file photo, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying speaks during a briefing at the Chinese Foreign Ministry in Beijing. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan, File)
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China warned Washington Tuesday that it would not back down over its claims in the disputed South China Sea, following vows by the Trump administration to defend U.S. and international interests there.China's artificial islands in the sea, some with the potential for military use, are considered a potential flashpoint and tough comments from White House spokesman Sean Spicer and Trump's nominee for secretary of state have raised the temperature.China lays claim to a vast swathe of the South China Sea within a so-called "nine dash line," including waters claimed by several of its neighbors.While calling for the dispute to be resolved under international law, the U.S. supported freedom of navigation by sending naval patrols through Chinese-claimed waters.Though it lags behind the U.S. in raw military power, experts say China is counting on a strategy of deterrence to keep the world's most powerful navy at bay.
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