Top US Navy officer urges China to avoid confrontations

Top US Navy officer urges China to avoid confrontations
Chief of U.S. Naval Operations Adm. John Richardso talks to reporters on regional security issues in Tokyo Friday, Jan. 18, 2019. The U.S. Navy’s top officer says he urged China to follow international rules at sea to avoid confrontations and insisted that ships should be able to pass safely though disputed areas of the South China Sea and Taiwan Strait. (AP Photo/Mari Yamaguchi)

TOKYO (AP) — The U.S. Navy’s top officer says he urged China to follow international rules at sea to avoid confrontations and insisted that ships should be able to pass safely though disputed areas of the South China Sea and Taiwan Strait.

Chief of U.S. Naval Operations Adm. John Richardson told reporters Friday that China should not see U.S. naval operations in the area as a threat.

Richardson, who held meetings in China earlier this week, said he stressed to Chinese officials that communication channels are useful in de-escalating tensions.

He said U.S. Navy ships will continue to operate freely in international waters, including the possibility of an aircraft carrier navigating through the Taiwan Strait.

A new Pentagon report saying China’s growing military capabilities could pose a threat to Taiwan has angered Beijing.