Top United States and Chinese Naval Officials hold Video link talks

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WASHINGTON: The call between Admiral John Richardson and Admiral Wu Shengli, who commands the Chinese navy , lasted about an hour. They discussed "freedom of navigation operations, the relationship between the two Navies including pending port visits, senior leader engagements and the importance of maintaining an ongoing dialogue. The Conversation was productive and effective. Pentagon spokesman Captain Jeff Davis said the sailing was not intended as a challenge to the sovereignty of "land features" in the South China Sea. The "US takes no position in competing sovereignty claims," he said. Tensions have mounted since China transformed reefs in the area -- also claimed by several neighboring countries -- into small islands capable of supporting military facilities, a move the US says threatens freedom of navigation. Washington has repeatedly said it does not recognise Chinese claims to territorial waters around the artificial islands. A US official told AFP that the US Navy would send more warships to sail close to the controversial islets.

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